How to Study at Home Effectively and Prepare for Tests

How to Study at Home Effectively and Prepare for Tests

If you are an MBA or Master’s applicant, your preparation has probably been affected by the social distancing measures and some canceled services during the Covid-19 outbreak. You might have to study for and take your admissions tests at home, or postpone them altogether.

In any case, there are some steps you can take to get accustomed to this new routine.

Check test updates

First and foremost, make sure you have the latest information about the admissions tests you signed up for and the requirements of business schools and universities. For example, English language proficiency exams such as IELTS have been suspended only in specific locations according to local government measures and recommendations. Other tests such as GRE and GMAT now have at-home versions.

At the same time, some business schools such as London Business School (UK) and Johnson Graduate School of Management (US), which usually require GRE or GMAT scores for admission, have temporarily changed their policies. If you already have a shortlist of universities where you plan to apply, check their current admissions procedure so that you know what steps to take next.

Make the most of online tutoring

As test organizers have made some exams available online at home and are working to provide additional guidance for test takers, you can still get the high score you need. Working and studying at home is a good opportunity to invest some more time in preparing your MBA or Master’s application.

Of course, one option is to make your own study schedule and keep track of your progress by yourself. If you are well-organized and already have a solid base for your preparation, self-prep might be enough to get the score you need.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable with the format and structure of an aptitude test such as the GMAT, it will be a good idea to seek professional advice. Test prep providers and tutors have online alternatives to help you and guide you.

Take study breaks

While it is very important to follow your study schedule at home to be able to get the results you want, taking a break once in a while is just as important. Our brains need rest to make space for new information and to store what we have already learned in our long-term memory.

Many experts suggest the Pomodoro technique to introduce structure in your home studying. It works like this – spend 25 minutes reading or practicing and then take a five-minute break. Rewarding yourself after a productive day of test preparation is also a great idea, according to The Economist:

The reward could be an extra hour of binge-watching your favorite show, eating an indulgent dessert, taking a nap or anything else that you enjoy. This will reinforce good study habits and, of course, it will be a well-deserved treat.

Get fresh air

Staying at home is the responsible thing to do at the moment. However, you also need to stay active and get fresh air when possible to help you recharge physically and mentally.

As long as you follow the official precautions in your home town and country, you should still be able to take a walk while keeping your distance from other people. Maybe you can step out in your backyard or on to your balcony or do some exercises regularly throughout the day.

Look after yourself

Finally, preserving your emotional well-being is essential to be able to overcome these challenging times. If you miss social interaction, try connecting with friends on a video chat platform. Don’t hesitate to explore new activities at home such as cooking or creating art.

Be mindful of the news and information you consume every day as this can make you anxious and distract you from your day-to-day job and studies. In an article for U.S. News & World Report, Tiffany Sorensen, who is a professional tutor, suggests:

You can decide on a fixed number of sources you will read or watch each day, or you can limit your browsing to a specific time frame – for instance, from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day or only in the early morning.

Good luck in your test preparation at home and stay safe.


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