Being just 5 days from my own exam date, I thought I would put together my strategy for the next few days before GMAT. I know I woke up this morning (4:45 a.m. to work overtime today) and thought, "Oh my god, I take the GMAT on Friday!" Others, please feel free to add to this and we can compile all of the useful advice into a single .doc guide.
Step 1) Trust your preparation! Pretty much everyone here has killed themselves over the last few months preparing for the GMAT. Now we get down to the deadline and we start doubting ourselves and freaking out in general. This is normal, but unnecessary. Trust yourself. The desire you have to go to b-school already shows more ambition and determination than 90% of everyone else!
Step 2) Get out that error log
. Look at the things you missed starting out and see how far you've come. This will put things in perspective for you. You'll be amazed and that should give you additional confidence for where you are now.
Step 3) Sleep. Seriously, get an extra 1 or 2 hours of sleep per night the 3 - 4 nights leading up to the test. If you're like me at all, you won't get great night's sleep prior the actual exam because you'll be too nervous about the test. Try to make up some of that sleep early and if you don't have a problem sleeping before the test (for one don't tell me about it, I'll be jealous) you'll be even more rested and it should help you focus on test day.
Step 4) When you're not sleeping extra, hit a few of your weaker areas. I'm a big fan of last minute review of weak areas. Some people might say "If you haven't learned it now, you won't be able to learn it before the test." This might be true for long-term memory, or craming in the lobby of Pearson VUE (not recommended), but for short-term memory that you need for 4 hours and then can effectively forget until your first day of b-school, by all means...cram it into that head of yours for the test!
Step 5) Go have a drink with your closest friends. This will remind you that these people will still like you even if you bomb your GMAT, and there is much more to life than the GMAT. They liked you (or acted like it) before you decided you were going to move away from them to go to b-school, and they'll like you no matter what you score. We get so focused on the GMAT over the course of a few months, or longer, that we get an inflated sense of how important this test is. Granted, it is important, but really, even with regard to b-school applications, it's just a portion of what we can do, and most top bschools are actually more interested in who we are rather than what number between 200 and 800 we are. Maybe you can write an essay regarding how you learned through this process that you're a great person even without an MBA, so imagine how awesome you'll be with one? (just a suggestion, but probably not a great essay topic:-D).
Step 6) Makes sure you know exactly what you need to bring with you. Call the Pearson VUE testing center and say "I have scheduled the GMAT for ______. I'm calling to make sure I know exactly what I need with me." The testing center will be more than happy to help you. They don't like turning people away for lack of passport or ID but they have to. Also, drive down there if you've never been there before. You can call and get directions, but there is nothing like having actually driven there before. You've obsessed about this exam for the last 3 months, is driving down there one extra time to get to know the area all that weird compared to some of the things we've done in order to learn this stuff? Obsession is relative and I'm sure there will always be someone way worse than you, so drive down there, figure out where you're going and don't think a thing about it.
Step 7) Stop reading this and get back to studying. After all, you still have a week left!
J Allen Morris
**I'm pretty sure I'm right, but then again, I'm just a guy with his head up his a$$.