GMAT Test Anxiety Countermeasures

Any type of performance creates stress. Athletes, musicians and dancers all have different reactions to “being tested.”  The goal of our work with test taking anxiety is to help you learn to master the inner mental game to reduce, eliminate test anxiety to build confidence, self-esteem, trust in your preparation and abilities. How do you do this?
1) To begin, you have to correct negative thinking patterns. Learning Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT) of reframing thought stopping and positive or affirming thought patterns is a great place to start to manage test anxiety. Stopping all negative thinking patterns and transforming your inner dialogue to an optimistic one stops the flow of stress hormones which disrupt your concentration and make you anxious.
2) Learning basic relaxation techniques including deep breathing to instantly change your physiology, progressive muscle relaxation, and pacing your study sessions. Being able to physically calm yourself down and release tension help the body. This lowers heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and creates a feeling of physical relaxation. 
3) Developing mental imagery scenarios in your mind of you on test day, at the computer, relaxed, positive, happy and doing great actually builds a circuit in your brain.

This quote may help you see how the combination of these 3 techniques:  “If you fire it, you wire it.” Once you fire a thought, positive or negative, you wire it into your neural network. So, creating a “mental bypass” around anxiety with positive thinking, builds this new circuit. An example might be to think of the GMAT an opportunity to show what you know not a threat or something to fear. A musician or an athlete enjoys a concert, competition or performance. The GMAT is your performance. You have rehearsed and prepared, now focus on doing your best by acknowledging your efforts, skills and abilities. Focus on strengths, and then the anxiety will pass or be replaced.
Other TIps:
To reduce GMAT Test anxiety, relax, think positively, keep life balance of fun, rest, sleep and remain social connections. If you regulate your study times with good rest periods, focusing on strengths, doing your best (not perfection), practice tests and actual GMAT scores will improve. Taper your study prior to the exam, schedule the test at a comfortable time of day, don’t cram before hand, become familiar with the test center, area and directions, arrive early, focus on the question in front of you, forget about the last question, take a moment or two to breath and stretch, and take the allotted breaks. Remember, you are always in control.

Test Taking Tips


Here are some things that may help reduce your test anxiety:
Learn how to study efficiently. Resources that can help you learn include study techniques and test-taking strategies. You'll feel more relaxed if you systematically study and practice the material that will be on a test.
Establish a consistent pre-test routine. Learn what works for you, and follow the same steps each time you're getting ready to take a test. This will ease your stress level and help assure you that you're well prepared.
Learn relaxation techniques. There are a number of things you can do right before and during the test to help you stay calm and confident, such as deep breathing, relaxing your muscles one at a time, or closing your eyes and imagining a positive outcome.
Don't forget to eat and drink. Just like muscles in your body, your brain needs fuel to function. Eat the day of the test so that you're not running on empty when test time arrives. Also, drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks such as soda pop, which can cause your blood sugar to peak and then drop, or caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks or coffee, which can increase anxiety.
Get some exercise. Regular aerobic exercise, and exercising on exam day, can release tension.
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is directly related to academic performance. Preteens and teenagers especially need to get regular, solid sleep.
Talk to your teacher/tutor. Make sure you understand what's going to be on each test and know exactly how to prepare. In addition, let your teacher know that you feel anxious when you take tests. He or she may have suggestions to help you succeed.
Don't ignore a learning disability. Test anxiety may improve by addressing an underlying condition that interferes with the ability to learn, focus or concentrate, for example, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia. In many cases, a student diagnosed with a learning disability is entitled help with test taking, such as extra time to complete a test or having questions read aloud.
See a professional counselor. Talk therapy especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (psychotherapy) with a psychotherapist, psychologist or other mental health provider can help you work through feelings, thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen anxiety. Check and see if your employer offers them through an employee assistance program.

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