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# Taking the GMAT in four days. Need advice calming my nerves

#### Taking the GMAT in four days. Need advice calming my nerves

Hi,

I'm taking the test on 16th (i.e. four days from now)
Prepared for 2 months.
I bought the GMAT exam pack 1 recently and got the following scores:
Exam 3 : 710 (Q-49 , V-36)
Exam 4 : 710 (Q-49 , V-38)

I just have a couple of questions.
1. Is there anything else that I can do to help my preparation before I take the test?
2. I tend to get very nervous as I start the exam(or if I feel that I'm short of time in a particular section). What can I do to minimise this.

Appreciate any responses and suggestions!

Regards,
Varun

### GMAT/MBA Expert

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Hi Varun,

In these last few days, you should NOT try to do too much work (NO 'cramming" and NO CATs). You would be best served by doing some general review and keeping your studies light. Try to get some extra rest so that you can go into Test Day calm, clear-headed and ready to work.

As far as that 'nervous feeling' is concerned, you might try thinking of it in terms of the 'energy' that it creates. Instead of thinking of it as 'nerves', think of it as 'excitement' - if you can focus that adrenaline into your work (meaning your note-taking, calculations, etc.), then you might be surprised at how much faster you can do that work. This is meant to say that you should take advantage of that energy instead of trying to suppress it.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

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I definitely agree with what Rich said. Here are a few other pieces of advice:

- Tell yourself that no matter what, you'll take it a 2nd time. There's always a margin of error of +/- 20pts, so even if you have a great test day and get a 720, why not roll the dice again and see if you can get a 730 or 740! You've only done 2 practice exams, so you're probably not yet at your personal peak. So telling yourself, "hey, this is just a practice round. I'll take it again after this" will take the pressure off this time. Most top test takers take the exam more than once!

- Make sure you eat a good, healthy breakfast. A lot of people forget to eat when they're nervous, or they pile up on sugary stuff. Eat a balanced meal before the test so that your blood sugar stays consistent throughout the test. If your blood sugar drops, it exacerbates decision fatigue.

- During the test, pause every few questions and take a DEEP BREATH. Roll your shoulders and you neck. Putting your body in a more relaxed posture will signal to your brain, "hey, we're not in fight-or-flight mode, this is fine." That will help to reduce the volume of stress hormones your brain sends out.

- Remember that the GMAT is not the make-or-break part of your application. It's just one piece among many. Lots of people with sub-par scores get into top schools if they can make themselves interesting applicants in other ways. On the flip side, lots of people with 790s and 800s get rejected from top schools, because they didn't have anything else interesting going for them. A strong GMAT score is helpful to your applicant, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient to get into a great school.

Good luck!

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Here are some other resources to help combat / reframe anxiety:

http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2013/05/09/stressed-out-meditate-to-lower-your-anxiety-and-boost-your-gmat-score/

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2009/11/27/techniques-for-managing-gmat-stress/

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2012/01/03/stress-management/

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2014/04/09/my-score-dropped-figuring-out-what-went-wrong-2/

And here's more about the decision fatigue thing I mentioned: When you've made dozens of decisions in a row (as on a GMAT exam), it depletes your ability to make new decisions. One way to combat that - eat something! Increasing blood glucose has been proven to counteract decision fatigue.

“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?_r=0

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varunsingh26 wrote:
I just have a couple of questions.
1. Is there anything else that I can do to help my preparation before I take the test?
2. I tend to get very nervous as I start the exam(or if I feel that I'm short of time in a particular section). What can I do to minimise this.
You're certainly not the first person to get nervous during this high-stakes (and expensive) test!
If you're interested, we have a free video on the topic on overcoming test anxiety: http://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/general-gmat-strategies/video/1252

Also, as part of managing anxiety, it's crucial that you adopt the proper mindset/attitude on test day. To this end, you may be interested in reading the following articles:
- http://www.gmatprepnow.com/articles/mindset-and-body-language-gmat-destroyer
- http://www.gmatprepnow.com/articles/junior-girls-volleyball-scoring-big-gmat

Cheers,
Brent

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Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Thanks a bunch, guys!
I took the GMAT today and got a 720 (Q-48, V-40). Although I was consistently scoring Q 49-50 in my mocks, I'm not disappointed with my overall score.
Now, I have to decide if I should take the test again and try to get a better score in quant.

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varunsingh26 wrote:
Thanks a bunch, guys!
I took the GMAT today and got a 720 (Q-48, V-40). Although I was consistently scoring Q 49-50 in my mocks, I'm not disappointed with my overall score.
Now, I have to decide if I should take the test again and try to get a better score in quant.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! That's a fantastic score!

I always tell my students to take the exam twice. With all the time and money you're planning to invest in graduate school, why not invest another day of your time + \$250 to maximize your score? There's always a margin of error of +/- 20 pts or so, so without any further studying, you could have a lucky test day and score a 740.

Here's some more reading on the benefits of taking exams twice:
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2015/12/04/heres-why-you-should-take-the-gmat-twice/

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EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education

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