Eliminating Test-Day Anxiety

How to Eliminate GMAT Anxiety

GMAT Anxiety

Taking the GMAT can be a nerve-wracking experience. Everyone wants to do really well in order to get into the best business school possible. Doing well on the GMAT is one of the best ways to ensure that you do get into a great school. There’s a lot at stake when you take the test, so it’s very natural to be nervous and anxious. While it’s probably impossible to eliminate test-day anxiety completely, there are a few things you can do calm your nerves for when you take the test. This article will teach you how to eliminate test-day anxiety and perform optimally on the GMAT.

Proper Preparation

The very first step you should take in overcoming anxiety over the GMAT is to be be thoroughly prepared. The more prepared you are for the GMAT,  the less you’ll have to worry about your ability to solve a particular question type. Make sure to practice frequently and try to do so in an environment that will simulate the testing experience (so try without music, TV or other background noise). You should also be cognizant of timing and working on proper time management techniques. Finally, try to get your hands on as many CAT as possible so that you ensure that you’re full prepared and ready to take on the GMAT.

Struggle Through Practice Problems

Students who take the time out to re-learn a mathematical rule or formula will increase their chances of being able to remember the information later on as opposed to those who simply look it up when they can’t recall the information needed immediately. Additionally, it’s important to push yourself through practice problems and only look for a solution to the problem after you’ve exhausted all other possibilities – too many times students, when starting their GMAT studies, look at how to solve problems too quickly if they encounter a question they initially believe they can’t solve. True learning is created by doing, not by memorizing.

Don’t Cram the Day Before the Test

The first thing you should understand when assessing how to eliminate test-day anxiety is that trying to cram the day before the test is counterproductive. You will probably end up being more worried that you don’t have a certain critical reasoning concept down cold and you won’t score as well. Cramming before the test is a great way to increase your test-day anxiety. I would suggest instead taking the day off and doing something relaxing to put your mind at ease. By this point, if you followed the first point above about proper preparation, you should have studied more than enough to do well. You should be confident that you have put in enough time at this point to do well. Cramming for one more day won’t help you that much and is more likely to do harm.

Do a Light Workout in the Morning

This is an easy way to get rid of anxiety. Go for a light run or otherwise do some sort of light workout and a lot of your nerves will go away. Your body will be too occupied by the exertion of working out to worry as much about the test you are about to take.

Eat the Same Stuff You Normally Would Eat

Aside from working out, you should follow your normal routine on test day. This will trick your mind into thinking it’s just another average day. You also really don’t want to upset your stomach for when you are taking the test. Keep things pretty much the same during test day.

Be Confident

At the end of the day, it’s important that you’re confident in yourself and your abilities. A common pitfall for GMAT students is becoming disillusioned by negative practice test experiences and therefore believing their abilities to be inferior to where they really are. This can lead to second guessing on the exam or improper time management. Make sure to to believe in yourself and your abilities – if you’ve put in the study time, your brain should have built the proper cues and connections under your practice conditions so that you’ll be able to recall the necessary information during test day.


Dealing With Disappointment With Your GMAT Score

How to deal with GMAT disappointment

As the great Winston Churchill one said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” A failure that many people looking to get an MBA deal with is what they consider to be disappointing GMAT score. Before discussing how to handle your disappointment, let’s first set the parameters for such a discussion.


We all know that person who is disappointed with their 780 score because they were hoping to hit an 800. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to attain perfection and so we shouldn’t diminish the disappointment that they’re feeling, but let’s face it, with a score like that, they have nothing to worry about when applying to business school, at least from the GMAT side of things and they’ll be the envy of almost every b-school applicant.

In that regard, if you’re a person who has gotten above a 700, then the best way to deal with your feelings of disappointment (if you are actually feeling that way) is to realize just how lucky you are to be in this elite region already. With a score above a 700, you’re already in at least the 90th percentile and at this point don’t have to worry about your GMAT score being the limiting factor of getting into the business school of your choice (see my post What is a Good GMAT Score for more info).

Those people who are reading this and score below a 700 have some analysis that they need to do in order to figure out if it’s worth retaking the GMAT so that you can get into the b-school of your choice, which means we’ll need to look at it from the perspective of the business school which wants to know “can this candidate handle the academic demands of our school?”.

A strong GPA is a factor that strongly weighs into this decision, as well as your work experience, letters of recommendation, and your essay. These are all things that a business school will look at to figure out whether you’re a candidate that they can envision being a future leader and therefore being a desirable candidate. Think about the time and effort you would need to spend to achieve a higher result on your GMAT and its cost in terms of other aspects of your application.

If you end up deciding that a better GMAT score will increase your chances of getting into the business school of your choice, then it’s time to figure out how to get to that goals. As Einstein once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

For your second pass at the GMAT, you may want to look at using additional materials as part of your overall study strategy. For example, you may want to consider using online prep material; 800score is considered one of the top in this regard as they are the largest online GMAT preparation website, giving clients hundreds of practice questions to work with, five CAT exams to use, and a load of other resources.

Aside from using a GMAT prep website, something else to consider is either taking a GMAT class, such as those that are offered by Kaplan or Veritas, or getting yourself a one-on-one tutor.

Finally, make sure that you get plenty of rest, not just the night before the exam, but during the entire studying process. Your brain’s ability to sore new information depends partially on you getting enough REM sleep.