Students usually struggle with test anxiety in their lives. Whether you’re paralyzed by curiosity before an important exam, or have a few butterflies, here are 10 tips that will put your mind at ease before you set foot for the GMAT examination center.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Yes, you should study hard for the GMAT, and yes, it is a very important component of your MBA application — but your GMAT score does not determine your future happiness or career success. If you don’t do as good as you expected yourself on the test the first time around, you can always take it again
Establish smart study habits in the months before the examination.
Being disorganized in your study habits or cramming before the test will only increase your anxiety. The number of weeks, or months, you set aside for studying will depend on how many hours a week you can spare. Be sure that you’re studying efficiently and effectively. Always focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths to maximize score gains.
Make sure you’re as prepared as possible.
If you know that you’ve put your all into your GMAT preparation, you don’t have much to worry about. You’ll be aware of your individual strengths and weaknesses. You’ll also have built up your test-taking endurance, so that test day won’t feel like a completely foreign experience.
Know exactly what to expect.
Familiarity is often associated with comfort, talk to people who have taken the GMAT at your test center, and be sure that you’ve taken plenty of full-length CATs before you embark upon the real day.
Treat your body as an extension of your mind.
In the months before the exam, make a concerted effort to eat well and get the required sleep. The healthier you are, the better you’ll feel on test day. Exercise, in particular, can be a great stress reliever. Try yoga or meditation, it clears your mind.
Try the “Thought-Stopping Technique.”
If you find yourself obsessed with negative thoughts, silently tell yourself, “Don’t think about that!” or just “Stop!” Relax your muscles, take a deep breath, and repeat a positive statement inside your head. You can employ this strategy on test day or whenever you start feeling anxious.
Relax the night before the test.
The night before the big day, be sure to get plenty of sleep and do something to put your mind at ease. It’s unlikely you’ll learn anything substantial and it is almost certain you will make yourself nervous.
Be sure you have everything you need ahead of time.
Compile everything you’ll need for test day a few days ahead of time. Here’s a list of what to bring to the test center from mba.com. Print out directions to the test site or maybe visit the center in person to see how long it takes you to get there. The more prepared you are, the less you’ll have to be anxious about.
Always Be positive.
If while you are driving to the test center, you find yourself fixating on failure, make an effort to think positive thoughts. Remind yourself that you don’t have to be perfect and that you’ve adequately prepared.
Employ relaxation techniques during the test.
If you’re in the middle of the testing center and anxiety strikes you hard, take a couple of deep breaths and ease down and relax your muscles. Close your eyes for a few moments.