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How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP!

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Manager
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Joined: 20 Oct 2011
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Concentration: Sustainability, General Management
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
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How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP! [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2011, 09:14
So, I have been studying fairly hard for a few months and my test date is just over 2 weeks away. I have started doing the CAT tests, and have written 4 MGMAT tests so far. I am saving the GMAT Prep tests until next week along with the final 2 MGMAT CATs.

My score for the first one (this was the free one that I did before really studying or taking too seriously) was 570 (Q33,V35).

The second was quite a big jump to 660 (this time I paid much closer attention to timing - Q45 V35).

3rd: 700 (Q43 V42) and 4th: 690 (Q42 V41).

The thing is that my quant background is fairly good, and I usually don't struggle with concepts. My issue is that damn timing clock. It makes me palpitate, sweat, make silly errors and forget things that I can easily solve on any non-test circumstance.

In my years in university, I never had any exam stress/duress and used to breeze through. I cannot figure out why my temperament changes so much when doing these practice tests (What will happen on the actual GMAT, god alone knows).

For instance in reviewing my tests, I can easily solve the quant in less than 2 minutes that I struggled with for 3 minutes and guessed on (without checking for the right answer or solution). In the back of my mind, I KNOW that I can solve these: I have done it many many times. But during the test, the emotional overload chokes me.

I would take any offer of advice. I breezed though university with a perfect 4.3 GPA in my 4 years and I never felt this way. Perhaps in the back of my mind, somewhere, somehow, there is the voice telling me that I MUST get a good mark on the GMAT as failure is NOT an option. I just am lost.

My verbal section, on the other hand, is fairly under control, but which I feel also gets affected by my quant section earlier on.

Sigh :(
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Re: How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP! [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2011, 18:31
I think that if by 30 second mark your strategy isn't going anywhere, try a new strategy. If by 2 minutes you still don't know how to work out a question, put your pride past you and move on by making an intelligent guess.

I think you need to just relax and remember that the GMAT is just another exam, except you can retake it again. Be as relaxed and calm as you can during the test otherwise you won't be performing at your full potential (assuming that you perform well when you are relaxed, not stressed out).
Depending what you do for relaxation, perhaps you could meditate, or take deep breaths, sing a song in your head, whatever it takes to relax you and keep you focused instead of stressing about the time.
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Re: How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP! [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2011, 17:57
TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND RELAX...it's a very psychological exam

you may want to go by benchmark times. If it takes 75 mins for one part of the exam and about 2 mins per question, then we can say after 15 questions you should have 45 mins left, after 30 questions you should have 15 mins left...or whatever works best for you. This way you're not constantly looking at the clock and getting nervous.
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Re: How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP! [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2011, 08:00
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alinomoto wrote:
So, I have been studying fairly hard for a few months and my test date is just over 2 weeks away. I have started doing the CAT tests, and have written 4 MGMAT tests so far. I am saving the GMAT Prep tests until next week along with the final 2 MGMAT CATs.

My score for the first one (this was the free one that I did before really studying or taking too seriously) was 570 (Q33,V35).

The second was quite a big jump to 660 (this time I paid much closer attention to timing - Q45 V35).

3rd: 700 (Q43 V42) and 4th: 690 (Q42 V41).

The thing is that my quant background is fairly good, and I usually don't struggle with concepts. My issue is that damn timing clock. It makes me palpitate, sweat, make silly errors and forget things that I can easily solve on any non-test circumstance.

In my years in university, I never had any exam stress/duress and used to breeze through. I cannot figure out why my temperament changes so much when doing these practice tests (What will happen on the actual GMAT, god alone knows).

For instance in reviewing my tests, I can easily solve the quant in less than 2 minutes that I struggled with for 3 minutes and guessed on (without checking for the right answer or solution). In the back of my mind, I KNOW that I can solve these: I have done it many many times. But during the test, the emotional overload chokes me.

I would take any offer of advice. I breezed though university with a perfect 4.3 GPA in my 4 years and I never felt this way. Perhaps in the back of my mind, somewhere, somehow, there is the voice telling me that I MUST get a good mark on the GMAT as failure is NOT an option. I just am lost.

My verbal section, on the other hand, is fairly under control, but which I feel also gets affected by my quant section earlier on.

Sigh :(


This is what I did when I was preparing for my GMAT.....every time I took practice test, I headed to the local library where they have these interview rooms (soundproofed walls, totally quiet and private). Basically, I tried to simulate the test environment as close as possible. I wore noise canceling earphones. Took same minutes of breaks as if I was really taking the real test and I took the test itself very seriously.

At first it was intimidating - hearing nothing but my heartbeats with noise canceling earphones as minutes go by really made me nervous. However, as I kept doing more of these mock sessions, my focus level really went up and I learned to manage my time perfectly. Also, I got used to sitting down for 4 hours in a pressured environment so my stamina improved as well.

The big day finally came - went in, had 10 mins left in essay sections, 10 mins left in Quant, 8 mins left in Verbal. Wasn't nervous at all - in fact I was really breezing through. Checked my score and boom - 190 score increase. Never scored this high before from those prep tests. I couldn't believe it.

I know how you feel - the pressure is enormous.....my first GMAT score was 500 and I was really depressed. Don't let those negative things get to you. if you do well on practice tests - great. If you do bad - whatever, they don't count. Just relax and think positive, and don't try to put too much work before the test day. I didn't study for 4 days before the test to clear up my mind. If you don't understand something by this point, you won't understand until the test day.

I hope this helps and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Good luck! :-D
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 20 Oct 2011
Posts: 123
Location: Canada
Concentration: Sustainability, General Management
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
GPA: 3.98
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 13 [0], given: 11

Re: How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP! [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2011, 08:58
goodbyeboy wrote:
alinomoto wrote:
So, I have been studying fairly hard for a few months and my test date is just over 2 weeks away. I have started doing the CAT tests, and have written 4 MGMAT tests so far. I am saving the GMAT Prep tests until next week along with the final 2 MGMAT CATs.

My score for the first one (this was the free one that I did before really studying or taking too seriously) was 570 (Q33,V35).

The second was quite a big jump to 660 (this time I paid much closer attention to timing - Q45 V35).

3rd: 700 (Q43 V42) and 4th: 690 (Q42 V41).

The thing is that my quant background is fairly good, and I usually don't struggle with concepts. My issue is that damn timing clock. It makes me palpitate, sweat, make silly errors and forget things that I can easily solve on any non-test circumstance.

In my years in university, I never had any exam stress/duress and used to breeze through. I cannot figure out why my temperament changes so much when doing these practice tests (What will happen on the actual GMAT, god alone knows).

For instance in reviewing my tests, I can easily solve the quant in less than 2 minutes that I struggled with for 3 minutes and guessed on (without checking for the right answer or solution). In the back of my mind, I KNOW that I can solve these: I have done it many many times. But during the test, the emotional overload chokes me.

I would take any offer of advice. I breezed though university with a perfect 4.3 GPA in my 4 years and I never felt this way. Perhaps in the back of my mind, somewhere, somehow, there is the voice telling me that I MUST get a good mark on the GMAT as failure is NOT an option. I just am lost.

My verbal section, on the other hand, is fairly under control, but which I feel also gets affected by my quant section earlier on.

Sigh :(


This is what I did when I was preparing for my GMAT.....every time I took practice test, I headed to the local library where they have these interview rooms (soundproofed walls, totally quiet and private). Basically, I tried to simulate the test environment as close as possible. I wore noise canceling earphones. Took same minutes of breaks as if I was really taking the real test and I took the test itself very seriously.

At first it was intimidating - hearing nothing but my heartbeats with noise canceling earphones as minutes go by really made me nervous. However, as I kept doing more of these mock sessions, my focus level really went up and I learned to manage my time perfectly. Also, I got used to sitting down for 4 hours in a pressured environment so my stamina improved as well.

The big day finally came - went in, had 10 mins left in essay sections, 10 mins left in Quant, 8 mins left in Verbal. Wasn't nervous at all - in fact I was really breezing through. Checked my score and boom - 190 score increase. Never scored this high before from those prep tests. I couldn't believe it.

I know how you feel - the pressure is enormous.....my first GMAT score was 500 and I was really depressed. Don't let those negative things get to you. if you do well on practice tests - great. If you do bad - whatever, they don't count. Just relax and think positive, and don't try to put too much work before the test day. I didn't study for 4 days before the test to clear up my mind. If you don't understand something by this point, you won't understand until the test day.

I hope this helps and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Good luck! :-D


Thank you. Really helpful!
Re: How to overcome exam and timing pressure anxiety? HELP!   [#permalink] 14 Nov 2011, 08:58
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