Outside of actually studying, changing certain habits can have a positive effect on your test scores and study productivity. The GMAT, or whatever standardized test you are taking for that matter, doesn’t need to take over your life. However, simple changes to your habits will improve your study and general heath as well. In general, people tend to feel better when they are healthier anyway, so why not let a standardized test be a motivator?
Exercise has been shown to help memory and learning. Regular exercise makes people more energetic, but also recent studies have demonstrated that light exercise while studying can actually increase the likelihood you will remember what you are studying. Obviously, you cannot study while playing soccer or going for a run in the park, but you could try to memorize quant or grammar rules, while on an elliptical or exercise bike.
There are also certain foods that have proven to increase brain performance. These foods include oily fish, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, blueberries and nuts. If you don’t already eat these foods often, try integrating more into your diet. Pumpkin seeds, blueberries or nuts could make great study snacks.
Getting enough sleep during the night is obviously essential for brain function, but daytime naps can also be very beneficial. A study done by UC Berkeley demonstrated that an hour nap can drastically improve brain power. So try taking a nap to break up long study days.
Reading comprehension is a difficult question type for many people. A way to improve your reading comp skills is to integrate more complicated material into your every day life. For example, instead of reading short listicles online, try reading the economist, or scientific journals.
Math is a big part on the GMAT. Except for the Integrated reasoning section, you will not be given a calculator, so you will have to compute everything in your head. Brushing up you your mental math skills can help you improve your speed on quant. You can do this through fun brain games like Lumosity.
While this might seem like a lot of changes to make, they very well might be worth it, not only for your test, but also for your health. You might even find that you enjoy these lifestyle changes and decide to maintain them well after your exam. You are already changing your habits to study, so why not change a few more to make that studying more effective?
By Eliza Chute