Afternoon fatigue...GMAT scheduled in afternoon!!

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I am not an early riser and the nearest test centre is 2.5 hours away. So I thought taking the test in the afternoon(1 pm) would be a good option. Due to office hours (second shift) I used to take my mocks at 11 am and I scored 690,690,680 in the 3 MGMAT mocks that I tried at 11 am .

Yesterday I decided to take a mock on my real scheduled time ( 1pm ) and to my horror I found myself to be too sluggish and managed to get only 650. By the time I finished IR I was feeling too tired. I ended up making too many silly mistakes and messing up my timing in quant section. Also, I got all 5 last questions wrong. In verbal I made another bunch of 5 continous mistakes towards the end and timing was again an issue. In none of the previous tests did I suffer from major timing issues. By the end of each of the 2 sections (last 10 questions) I got so sluggish that I had to read a question several times in order to decipher it's meaning. Apart from the change in time and temperature (It's summer time in India) I did not find any difference between this mock and my previous tests.

I can't reschedule my test and I don't know how to get used to this timing in 2 weeks. I am thinking about taking a big breakfast at 10:30 and skipping lunch on the test day. I've read that eating trail mix and drinking glucose water during the breaks can be helpful. What's ur opinion? what should I do guys?? Please help :cry:

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by [email protected] » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:43 am
The score you got is not a huge statistical difference from the scores you were receiving. Yes, it is lower, but within 1 Standard Deviation. I would say just relax and try to focus the best you can on exam day. Personally, I think skipping a meal before the test is a bit extreme. For me, small meals throughout the day keeps my energy up.

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by ceilidh.erickson » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:43 am
It sounds to me like your biggest issue is not fatigue but ANXIETY! Yes, for many people there are slight differences in brain performance at different times of day. The difference between 8am and 5pm, for example, might be a 20 point difference for some people. But a 2-hr difference in time should not be significant.

I think it's likely that you were thinking "I wonder if this time difference will affect my performance!", then psyched yourself out. The margin of error on the GMAT can be +/- 30 points, so your score isn't necessarily deviation from your others. Some test experiences will always be better or worse than others.

Don't overthink what you're going to eat, exactly what time to go to bed, etc. If you sneeze twice during your test, that could affect your score, but are you going to obsess about it? Just act normal! Tell yourself - I know what I know, and time of day and glucose levels aren't going to affect that to any degree that matters.

Aim for moderation:
- not hungry, but not overly full
- not over-caffeinated, but drink some coffee if that's what you normally do
- get a normal, healthy amount of sleep
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by [email protected] » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:58 pm
Hi dp26389,

You've mentioned some details that I think are worth reviewing; I'll also offer some suggestions that you might find beneficial:

First off, a 650 is within range of your other CAT scores, so your fatigue could certainly have cost you a few points. Before we blame everything on fatigue though, you should do a question-by-question review of the exam. Why did certain questions take so long? Did you make any silly mistakes? What can you do to be more efficient (and NOT make those silly mistakes) next time? It might have been a few careless errors, rather than fatigue, that was the biggest factor.

Some questions need to be answered:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT when you scored in the 680-690 range or is this the first time that you did IR? Did you write the essay too?

2) What time of day do you normally wake up? Most people tend to do their best work/thinking in the first 4-5 hours of the day, so if you're taking your test "outside" of that window, you might see a lag in performance. Keep in mind, it wouldn't necessary be a terrible performance, but the "little things" add up on Test Day - lots of smart little things will raise your score; lots of silly/dumb little things will lower your score.

3) You mention that the test centre is 2.5 hours away. How are you going to travel to that centre? Bus? Car? Plane? Have you been accounting for this task when you've taken your CATs? By that, I mean "have you ridden on a bus for 2.5 hours before you took the CAT?"

Some suggestions:
1) You need to eat enough of a breakfast to give yourself the fuel that you need to start the day. You might also consider bringing a few snacks (one for the ride to the centre and others for the two 8-minute breaks).

2) Bring something to drink too. The human brain dehydrates rather easily - between the travel time and the GMAT itself, you could be facing 8 hours with nothing to drink!

3) Try to stick to your "patterns" - you shouldn't be doing anything new/different on Test Day. Stick to your normal routine along with anything you might do to "pump yourself up"

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by varung79 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:15 pm
Hi dp26389

To the above points, I would like to add:

Take into consideration climatic conditions that may also hinge your energy levels.

Considering the season and temperature conditions, I would decide whether to book a morning or afternoon slot. If it's extreme summer or winter, you may also have to consider the travel time before you reach the test center.

I would reinforce that stick on to your regular patterns at least a month before you take the test; consider taking practice CATs at the same time of the day to get used to the timings.