Studying for the GMAT or GRE requires discipline, time, and a lot of persistence. During these months, you will have to prioritize your activities and obligations to have daily space to study. Sometimes it will seem that you do not have enough time for everything, and it probably is.
The secret to achieving a competitive score on the GMAT and GRE is the quality of your study, not the quantity. This does not mean that you should not study hard. It means that you must study intelligently.
One of the first things you stop doing when studying for the GMAT or GRE is exercise. Or if you don’t, consider that it is not the best time to start.
However, exercising, specifically aerobic exercise, can be one of your most effective weapons.
Multiple studies have shown that exercise strengthens the brain. For example, a study published in 2009 on Swedish 18-year-olds in the military. This study showed that fitness was related to a higher IQ. Even between identical twins.
There is something even more relevant and important to you. Other studies have shown that a single moderate workout can immediately change how your brain works. So also how effective are you at remembering information.
Studies conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois and Maryland showed otherwise. Doing aerobic exercise, even for just 20 minutes before an exam, is correlated with a higher score. Moderate to intense aerobic exercise in children aged 9 to 10 years improved cognitive control of attention. It also increased her focus. The exercise improved their academic performance on the exam.
It was previously believed that the plasticity of the adult brain was relatively fixed. It is now known that, depending on your lifestyle, your brain continues to generate new connections and improve.
Another study, published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society at Cambridge University, showed otherwise. A single 20-minute session of aerobic training improves semantic memory in adults. These benefits, which are immediate after exercising, can be turned into permanent benefits. This is achieved if you exercise regularly. In other words, a training session will help you remember data more easily. Also to keep focus. This will benefit your immediate performance. But if you incorporate exercise into your daily routine, your brain will get stronger. This way you can generate permanent changes.
How to apply this to the GRE and GMAT?
If you have a busy schedule, spend 20 minutes exercising before starting each study session. If you study in the evening, the intensive exercise session will help you to unwind and sweat the stress of the day. If you study early in the morning, it will help you wake up and fill you with energy. These 20 minutes of exercise will keep you more focused and alert. It will prepare your brain for intensive critical thinking sessions. For a high score, memory and attention are two of the most important skills.
If you are used to studying by prioritizing quantity, instead of quality, these 20 minutes of exercise and not study could seem like a waste of time. If you study prioritizing quality, these 20 minutes prepare you to make the most of your study session.
Finally, remember that exercise must be aerobic. It is not yet clear if exercise such as weight lifting or yoga will help you just as well. Run, ride a bike, get on the elliptical. There are no pretexts. If you have nowhere to exercise, buy yourself a jump rope. Jumping rope is one of the most effective cardiovascular exercises. 20 minutes will give you an intensive workout. They will help you pump and oxygenate the blood in your brain. You will have a productive study session. It will also increase your physical health in the long term.