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How to Use Breaks to improve your scores
Oct 16, 2015

How to Use Breaks to improve your scores

We’ve all heard that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but did you know that it also hurts Jack’s GMAT score? As we have discussed several times before, studying for hours on end without any break is a bad idea. Your brain simply needs to cool off. In fact, research suggests that there is a definite link between over-studying and underperforming. What does this mean for you? Well, for starters you need to take a break from time to time. Your brain needs to get away from the mental and emotional stress that GMAT prep takes on it. Here are two ways to let off steam and improve your GMAT scores at the same time.


As you probably know, studying is an inherently sedentary activity. To keep yourself physically and mentally sharp, your body needs to move around. Do not take your breaks sitting at the same desk you have been studying at all day. Get your blood flowing and distract yourself with an activity. No one is asking you to start training for the next Olympics, but research has also shown that test takers who exercise regularly also score higher on tests than those who do not. Go for a run, a swim, join a pickup basketball game, it really does not matter what type of exercise you are doing as long as it gets you moving. Are GMAT benefits not enough? Exercise also makes you healthier, live longer, and feel more attractive.

Start a conversation:

Do you remember your friends? They are the people that you used to see before you started studying for the GMAT. Balancing your schedule between your normal work and studies is hard, but you should not entirely neglect your social life. Test prep takes a lot of time, and studying is a solitary experience, but there is no need to become a pariah, pick up your phone and make plans to see your friends at some point this week. That is an order! Let me add an exception, texting does not count. You have been staring at words on a screen all day and what you need is real verbal communication with a real tangible person. Go out with your friends and have a good time or call that cute person you have been eying lately and ask them on a date this weekend. I have said it before, and I will say it again. As long as you do not go overboard, taking breaks helps your GMAT performance.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that you don’t need to give the GMAT plenty of time to focus on studying. We both know that the GMAT is a tough test and it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare. However, you are not doing yourself any favors by locking yourself in your house all weekend. Get out and enjoy life! Not only will your body and mind thank you, but your scores will increase as well.

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