GMAT Test-Day Tip: Do Not Make Last-Minute Changes to Your Routine

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Do Not Make Last-Minute Changes to Your Routine

There are a number of reasons why a GMAT student may see a drop from her practice test scores to her actual GMAT score, so it’s imperative to troubleshoot key aspects of your GMAT test prep to ensure that you don’t set yourself up for a rude awakening on test day.

Today, I’ll outline a common GMAT preparation pitfall that can lead to a score drop on test day.

Maybe you decided that a “superfood” diet for the week leading up to your exam would help your mental sharpness. Maybe on the morning of your GMAT, you drank more coffee than you normally would in a week. Maybe you were too nervous to eat or sleep much in the final days before the test, or you started an exhausting new exercise regimen.

Big, last-minute changes in your daily routine can have a significant effect on your GMAT score. For instance, if you typically go for a run outdoors a few times a week, there is no reason to stop doing so in the weeks leading up to your exam. In fact, you may find yourself feeling more stressed and less energetic if you do. And if your friend who already took the GMAT gives you a recipe for the kale-bee pollen-wheatgrass smoothie she had for breakfast on the morning of her exam, do your stomach a favor and don’t try it out for the first time on test day.

Implementing healthy changes in your normal routine — changes such as going to bed and waking up earlier, eating a more vitamin-rich diet, taking yoga classes, or making sure to drink eight glasses of water a day — can produce physical and mental benefits that may boost your test-day performance. The point is to implement those changes gradually over time. You’re not, for example, going to transform from a night owl to a morning person in a matter of days, and you run a serious risk of derailing your GMAT readiness if you try.

Sleep patterns, diet, hydration, and physical activity can all play a role in how you feel when you walk into the test center on test day, so last-minute experiments involving routines that are radically different from what you’re used to are not advised.

Conclusion: Do not make major changes to your sleep schedule, exercise routine, or diet in the days leading up to your exam. Instead, implement healthy changes to your routine gradually, so that by the time test day arrives, they feel normal.

Happy studying!