6 Tips to overcome GMAT test anxiety

Question: Name 2 emotions that Ram Gopal Verma’s horror movies fail to elicit, while GMAT unintentionally succeeds.

Answer: Fear and Anxiety

A lot of us experience anxiety whenever we take up a new task or are subject to an unfamiliar environment. In the GMAT test, considering that the stakes are high, it is common to suffer from test anxiety which is likely to adversely affect your output. Anxiety management may not completely take care of the pre-test jitters but can surely go a long way towards reducing your stress and improving your performance.

Here are a few tips that may prove handy:

1. Be confident

It is good to aim high however remember that the GMAT is not the only qualifying criteria to get into a good B-school. You can work harder on the other elements and present an impressive application. So do not burden yourself by aiming for unrealistic or extremely high scores. Remember that the GMAT can be taken multiple times and the highest score is considered for the MBA application. So even if you do not perform well in the first attempt, there’s always a second chance. While re-taking the GMAT, you would have already gone through the whole process once and would be in a better position to handle your anxieties and with better a GMAT preparation strategy, you have a good chance to score higher. Do not get pressured with thoughts about what others will think if you get a low GMAT score. You can perform better when you leave behind all baggage (literally and figuratively) at the door and enter your exam hall with a fresh mind and an empty bladder. Be positive, have faith in yourself and think that you will do your best.

2. Exercise

Exercise not just keeps you physically fit but reduces stress as well. So it’s good if you can take some time off for this in your daily schedule. Work out a sweat, but that doesn’t mean you kill yourself by enrolling in that upcoming marathon. Exercise till you reach the feel-good state as opposed to I’m-gonna-collapse-somebody-pick-me-up-and-take-me-home state.

3. Get familiar with what to anticipate on the test day

Read the information provided on the official GMAT website thoroughly.

Here’s a link that provides all the information you need about how things are at the exam, and the various rules and regulations. This has also been documented in the form of a video on YouTube.

Make sure to see it a few times. Familiarity with the process itself can help relieve a lot of test-related anxiety.

4. Keep your handy stuff ready

Keep your bag ready beforehand. Check this link to make a final checklist of what to take along and what to avoid. Keep your documents and IDs ready. Also carry along some light snack (maybe a cereal bar or some fruit) you would like to have during your short breaks. Keep your list of at least five schools ready where you would wish to forward your GMAT scores without any fee. Thereafter you would be charged for any additional school you wish to forward your scores to.

5. Be in good shape for the test

Prepare a planner for your GMAT study routine. If you are working, try squeezing out at least one or two hours in the morning before you go to work and a few hours in the evening if possible. If that’s difficult and you’re entirely dependent on your weekends, make it a point to keep a dedicated time on the weekends for studying. Time-management should be done efficiently so that you have sufficient time to cover the entire GMAT syllabus and solve sufficient practice questions. Devote additional time for your weak areas where you can improve with practice.

Follow a structured approach and stick to a regular study regime, Leave time towards the end for practice tests. This would help you get used to the test format and the lengthy duration. Take the sample tests provided free of cost by mba.com towards the end which would simulate the actual GMAT exam. This would also give an idea of how well-prepared you are and what score to expect.

6. Relax and rest

Now you know that you are all set, so just take your mind off the GMAT and relax. Preferably be done with it all and keep the last 2-3 days before the exam as stress-free as possible. If you feel you’re too restless, try doing meditation. Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques which would also be handy to maintain your cool during the GMAT test.

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