5 Ways to Overcome Test Anxiety

Test anxiety plagues most people preparing for the GMAT to some degree. Peter Aranda, executive director and CEO of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management–the preeminent organization for promoting diversity and inclusion in American business–recently shared these five ways to overcome test anxiety, courtesy of Bara Sapir, founder and director of Test Prep New York.

If you need a little bit of help in this area, try to incorporate these practices into your study approach:

1. Create a schedule: Include time for study, exercise, and socializing with friends and relaxation. Schedule at least 7 hours of sleep. Your brain works best when it has time to process information. A balanced schedule prevents feeling overwhelmed ”” a surefire trigger for an anxiety flare-up.

2. Fire your inner critic: Eliminate self-judgment. And don’t tell yourself that what you have to do is beyond your capabilities. Do you balance your checkbook? Remember that the majority of questions on the GMAT math section test what you learned in seventh through ninth grade, not advanced quantum physics.

3. Visualize Success: Find a quiet place every day and imagine your ideal test day.  It only takes five minutes. See yourself feeling comfortable, prepared, and relaxed. Imagine your confidence and ease. See yourself answering each question with assurance and clarity. Then see your high score on the screen before you and feel your body respond in a rush of excitement.

4.  Self-Care: Basic self-care such as eating a balanced diet, exercising, and keeping to a reasonable sleep schedule all contribute to your overall mental well being. You are your own best judge. Remember ”” if you are well rested and physically in shape on test day you’ve got the foundation for peak performance.

5. Yoga for the Mind: Just as physical practice such as yoga makes your body more flexible, your mind benefits from stretching and expanding its thought processes to make your thinking more flexible and nimble.

“Practice thinking like a C.E.O. and embrace your inner mogul,” Sapir advises. “Trying on the identity of who you aspire to be, whether it’s a successful entrepreneur or head honcho, will aid in your breaking free from obvious and predictable thinking and increasing your confidence and bringing you into a more focused zone, which will help you stay calm during the test.”

(Image by Flickr user activefree, CC 2.0)

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