Study Strategy - Morning Pomodoro Sprints

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More Is Not Better

Many GMAT students feel that to get results, they need to spend 5 hours a day after work sloughing through problem set after problem set. The idea is that “more is better” and by doing more problems they will increase their score.

Not really, though.

My GMAT Verbal clients found it is far, far better to wake up 90 minutes earlier each day and those 90 minutes are worth a million times more than 5 hours after work, when you are ragged and run-down. The idea is to give it your freshest energy; the best of you and not the rest of you.

When you are learning something new, it requires high concentration and not the tattered remains of the day.


Use the Pomodoro technique – 25 minutes of intense focus and then 5 minutes of doing something active and away from the computer (no phone stuff – like, a real break.)

Then rinse and repeat 2 more times for a total of 90 minutes. You will be very amazed how productive and motivated you are when 1.) you have a clear focus for the next 25 minutes 2.) there is a timer.


Personally, I do Pomodoro sprints with my coworking partner over Skype video. We meet several times per week from 1pm to 3pm - it creates a nice “container” for getting things done. Having an accountability partner works wonders and makes things a lot more fun.

Observe and Be Reflective

Observe what you are doing, do more observation than working problems. I remember when I was struggling with the GMAT I was kind of trying to impose my will upon the test rather than LISTEN to what the test was trying to TELL ME.

The test has its own ways and you need to be in OBSERVER MODE rather than try to bulldoze through problem sets.

Clear Focus For Each Sprint

Have a clear focus on your learning objective like, “today I am going to work on modification questions” – drill down beyond verbal or quant or even the subsections of verbal or quant.

Even better, for a specific sprint declare your intention state, "I am going to understand the pattern in what I choose and what the GMAT deems correct with X type of questions, for this practice test."

One of my favorite expressions, "as the problem comes into focus, so does the solution."
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Farrell Dyan
MBA Admissions Consultant
"You don't often come across people who are as perceptive and also genuinely empathetic." - EM. NYC