Finally the day is here for which you have toiled day and night during your prep phasereviewing lessons, taking practice tests, learning and implementing test taking strategies. Undoubtedly you must have given numerous thoughts thinking about your performance on the test day. Some bit of anxiety is natural and should be there, as it keeps you focused on your goal of giving your best shot at the GMAT. However, one should always remember, GMAT is a test of elimination and not selection as it gives you a percentile score which is relative i.e. how you performed on the test compared to rest of the people giving the exam. Now since you are done with your prep phase, what extra can you do to perform to your best ability on the GMAT exam? The day before the exam and the exam day have a significant importance if you utilize the time wisely distracting yourself from the repeated thoughts about the performance on the test. Repeatedly thinking about the test fatigues your mind and drains away the energy, which if conserved will definitely leave no chance for you to complain about your performance on the test day. This article lets you know some proven strategies and techniques, which will give you an edge over others as many just don’t take these techniques seriously and end up faltering on the exam day despite deserving a much better score.
Day before the Test
- Sleep Adequately:
This is better said than done. To achieve this, one should start working on setting a sleep routine at least a fortnight in advance so that your mind and body becomes accustomed to it. Sleep is the best way to relax your body and mind and both of these will be put to a good test on the deciding day. Majority of the candidates don’t take a relaxed and adequate sleep before the test day due to the excitement and anxiousness of the exam. By not taking adequate sleep, your mind doesn’t perform to its optimum potential making you feel dizzy and drained away during the GMAT marathon. This directly affects your performance on the exam in a negative way.
- Don’t Study:
Studying the day before the exam will do you more harm than good. Tame the mind to believe that last day preparation won’t help on the GMAT, which test your critical skills and those cannot be improved in a day. In fact conserve your energy for the D-day. Instead try going for a walk in the nearby park and try to spend 1-2 hours enjoying the beauty of the nature, chirping of birds. In case you have a pet or small child in your house, spend good time playing along with them as they are great stress busters and deviate your mind worrying about the test.
- Avoid Social Media:
Spending time on social media takes away all the freshness and activeness of the mind. You feel a bit dizzy and tired and if you think, the productivity of the same is zero. Your absolute focus should be conserving your precious energy and utilize it where it is the most required (the GMAT exam).
- Organize your Bag:
Don’t leave this task to the final day. Make sure you put in all the necessary documents required a day before the test.
Have a light dinner at least 2 hours before going to sleep. Don’t have caffeine or alcohol the day before the test as you want to get up totally fresh the next morning.
- Meditate and Sleep:
Even if you have never tried meditation, one should do it before going to bed before the test day. Those who are not familiar with any meditation technique should sit in silence with eyes closed for at least 15 minutes watching yourself breathe and then go to bed. This way, you will be able to have a more relaxing and sound sleep, which is essential to perform on the deciding day.
On the Test Day
- Wake up at a time so that after following your daily morning routine, you can reach the venue a minimum of 45 minutes in advance. If possible, go for a morning walk or try listening and dancing to your favorite song for at least 15 minutes as that lifts your mood and the nervous system as well.
- Dress yourself up comfortably in layers. Though, it may be summers but the AC might be too effective at the center leading to distraction and frequent urge to use the restroom.
- Have a light breakfast and not a heavy one. Keep some snacks with you to be taken during the breaks in the exam.
- Breathe in and out deeply as possible for 2 minutes just before the start of the test. It really relaxes your mind and makes it much more receptive. Even if during the exam you feel like you are not able to comprehend effectively or not pacing the test effectively, try the same technique for about a minute. Drink a sip of water regularly during the test as it provides a soothing effect.
- Stick to the order of sections where you have found yourself most comfortable during your mock tests. Don’t experiment with it on the test day.
- Make the best use of the optional breaks provided. Have some sweet chocolate or snacks as that provides you instant energy. Go for a small walk to the washroom and try stretching your body as that increases the blood circulation keeping you more active.
- Leaving questions unanswered at the end of any section hurts the score more than even answering them incorrectly. Each unanswered question drops your score by 3 percentile. Hence, leaving questions unanswered is the worst thing you can do on the GMAT exam. Create benchmarks for every section on the test. Many students keep on looking at the timer after each question to know if they are on right pace. This leads to a time waste and shift in your focus on a regular basis. Moreover, some questions actually need more time to solve than others. Breaking each section into 10 questions is a good idea. This will give you a fair idea whether you are rightly paced during the test or not. This takes into account all variety of questions, some you might be able to answer in less than a minute and some might take more than 2 minutes. Creating benchmarks kind of calculates the average to help you know whether you are rightly pacing the test.
- It is a good practice to glance at the options before actually solving the question. If the options are widely spread, you can make approximations on the calculation front, which will help you save a lot of time. Also, many candidates straight away jump into problem solving right after reading the question. Instead, take a pause for about 5-10 seconds after reading the question and try creating a mental roadmap as to how the question should be attempted.
- Make sure you keep an eye for detail for every question. GMAT peculiarly sets traps to test it. Many a times in attempting the questions quickly, we oversee the vital information asked in the question, especially in the verbal section. So make sure you take ample time reading the questions and don’t rush into answering questions too quickly.
By following the above recommendations, we at GMAT Gladiator can assure you that your performance on the actual test day will be much better than your mocks or practice tests, saving you the agony to rewrite the GMAT test. Many students actually experience the other way round with their performance taking a marginal or remarkable dip on the actual GMAT as compared to their mocks and practice tests.
Our point of view – GMAT can be aced, but that surely requires the guidance of top GMAT instructors, which can effectively make a difference in your GMAT prep.