Taking Control of the GMAT

The countdown has begun. Your date with the GMAT is looming on the horizon. Now, the butterflies have started fluttering in your stomach. Your thinking is getting a little cloudy. You're becoming riddled with self-doubt ...am I ready? ...am I sure that I'm ready? ...what did I forget?

Don't panic. By following these simple tips you can alleviate the natural anxiety and stress that goes along with taking an exam as important as the GMAT. Take control during the days leading up to the test, manage your anxiety, and lay the groundwork for a successful test taking experience.

The Week Before Test Day

In the week or so leading up to Test Day, you should do the following:

• Visit the testing center if you can. Sometimes seeing the actual room where your test will be administered and taking notice of little things – such as the kind of desk you'll be working on, whether the room is likely to be hot or cold, etc. – may help to calm your nerves. And if you've never been to the test center, visiting beforehand is a good way to ensure that you don't get lost on Test Day. Remember, you must be on time – the computers at the test centers are booked all day long.

• Practice working on test material, preferably a full-length test, at the same time of day that your test is scheduled for, as if it were the real Test Day.

• Time yourself accurately, with the same device and in the same manner in which you plan to keep track of time on Test Day. (The computer has a clock on the screen that you'll see during the test, but it's good to track your own time as well.) • Evaluate thoroughly where you stand. Use the time remaining before the test to shore up your weak points. But make sure not to neglect your strong areas; after all, this is where you'll rack up most of your points.

The Day Before the Test

Try to avoid doing intensive studying the day before the test. There's little you can do to help yourself at this late date, and you may just wind up exhausting yourself and burning out Review a few key concepts, get together everything you'll need for Test Day and then take the night off entirely. Go to see a movie, rent a video, or watch some TV. Try not to think too much about the test.

The Day of the Test

Here are some last-minute reminders to help guide your work on Test Day:

• Read each question stem carefully, and reread it before making your final selection.

• Don't get bogged down in the middle of any section. You may find questions that appear later to be more to your liking. So don't freak. Eliminate answer choices, guess, and move on.

• Start strong. The first few questions are important, so spend as much time as necessary on the early ones.

• Don't bother to figure out which questions are unscored. It can't help you, and you might very well be wrong. Instead, just determine to do your best on every question.

• Confidence is key. Accentuate the positives, and don't dwell on the negatives! Your attitude and outlook are crucial to your performance on test day.

• During the exam, try not to think about how you're scoring. It's like a baseball player who's thinking about the crowd's cheers and the sportswriters and his contract as he steps up to the plate: There's no surer way to strike out. Instead, focus on the question-by-question task of picking an answer choice. The correct answer is there: You don't have to come up with it; it's sitting right there in front of you! Concentrate on each question, each passage, each problem and you'll be much more likely to hit a home run.

After all the hard work you've done preparing for and taking the GMAT, you want to make sure you take time to celebrate afterwards. Plan to get together with friends the evening after the test. Relax, have fun, let loose. After all, you have lots to celebrate: You prepared for the test ahead of time. You did your best. You're going to get a good score.

For more test prep and admissions advice from Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, visit: www.kaptest.com/business

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