“I once sat down to study for my GMAT at 1:30 p.m. The next time I saw my watch, it was 5:15 p.m. and I realized I had only gone through one page, the one that I had started with. I had spent, without realizing, almost all of my time in thinking about things, all the things, except what I was studying.”

If this has ever happened with you, if the thought of taking your GMAT exam the next day scares you, if you think you’re never prepared enough, if you think you aren’t justifying the preparation and commitment required towards your GMAT preparation- You’re at the right place!

The first thing you do is take a deep breath, and this, not just right now, but every time you sit down to study. It is absolutely natural for a young human mind to waver, all the more likely when you want it to concentrate. In this article we are going to discuss problems relating to lack of focus and ability to concentrate while studying for GMAT, and more importantly, solutions to them.

The first step to solving a problem is to identify it. Let’s discuss the etiology of our concerns:


The most prominent and prevalent cause of lack of focus among students is fear of failure. Fear breeds negativity which pulls down confidence and hence hinders with the ability to concentrate and deliver. Closely associated with fear is anxiety, or what professionals like to call ‘test anxiety’. Research suggests that not less than 60 percent of candidates appearing for a mock test face test anxiety and complain of ‘completely blacking out’ during a test. You might know your stuff to the core, but fear can single-handedly limit you from scoring up to your mark.


Nothing but regular practice, knowing your weakness and working on them can enthuse confidence in you. Once you’re confident about everything you have studied and know that you are ready for almost every type of question that can possibly be asked in the test, there’s no way you’re going to be nervous anymore. The key is to practice sincerely and believe in yourself.

Irregular schedules

Most candidates, being in their early years of adulthood, gain a sinful pleasure in indulging in untimely naps and the lethargic lifestyle. Though they may claim to still find time out to study for some hours throughout the day irrespective of what time of the day it is, the body and mind may not comply. The body follows a ‘clock’ of sorts and not having a regular routine often works against a quality study time.


Chalk out a schedule. Set a target. GMAT is going to be a three and a half hours long exam. Start step by step. Start by devoting half an hour each day and then keep increasing this time according to your capability. Remember, laziness makes acquiring knowledge a tough nut to crack. There are times when you will feel loaded with too much information and your mind might get too tired to process it all at once. Take a break. As much as stability is necessary for better focus, so is taking a stroll to breathe in the fresh air and unwind. Try not to surf the internet or play video games in this break for you might end up taking devastatingly longer breaks than you had intended to.

Frivolous mind

Some people, innately, have a rather restless mind. Lack of focus, not just at GMAT preparation but in general is an omnipresent issue. Well, it’s not a problem that cannot be solved. If you find it hard to read a single page of your textbook without checking your phone or thinking about the dress you should wear to the party that night, you know that something needs to be done about it.


A simple solution to improve focus is to get rid of everything that distracts you from concentrating on all that is important. Stop thinking about all those parties you will have to miss because you have other priorities and stop worrying about booking the tickets to the upcoming movie you wanted to watch so badly. Pause. Take a deep breath. And set one clear goal in your mind – all the hours that you are going to sit with your textbook, nothing but the book will have your uncompromised attention. Put your phone away. Have someone else to answer the doorbell. Meditation is a great tool. Stay put, and you’ll gradually realize that you have improved your concentration power big time!

Customized environment

A lot of us have the habit of studying in a customized environment – ambiance tailored to our needs and requirements that ensures that personal comfort isn’t compromised. Studying on the bed with the music on and snacks at our disposal is what most of our study rooms look like, and this luxury is exactly what will take a toll on our concentration on the day of the exam.


The arrangement of the exam hall will be desks and benches aligned one after another where you’ll be required to sit up straight on one and write the full 3.5 hours long exam. It is undoubtedly sensible to prepare yourself for taking the exam in such conditions. Instead of solving practice tests on the bed, resort to the table and chair set up. Make sure that you’ve eaten well before you sit to study so that you don’t need to take frequent breaks or eat snacks while you solve test papers. This will prepare you for the exam better.


Along with all the points mentioned above, a useful tip for the day of the exam would be to avoid listening to music just before taking the exam because it tends to linger. Try to wake up early and reach the center on time so that you don’t get all panicky and forget carrying important equipment or documents. Most importantly, be confident and believe in yourself!