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Another Test Anxiety Case

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Another Test Anxiety Case  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2018, 18:30
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Hi guys,

I apologize for the long post ahead of time!! I figured better to give more details than less.

I've seen numerous posts with some advice about test anxiety, and I wanted to see if there was something I wasn't seeing with my own situation by posting, especially since I'm having difficulty overcoming it with the suggestions I've read. I took my official GMAT today. Second attempt officially. Aiming for a 670. I got a lower score than the first time. My test anxiety always takes over. I typically don't sleep well the two nights before, increasingly sleeping less. I don't know how to overcome it, and I'd prefer not to rely on drugs and such. I know it's a mental thing, but I was hoping someone who has gone through it could help me with some pointers and tips. Not quite sure when to retake or what my next steps are as well. :?

Overall, I'm not quite sure how to proceed. Unfortunately, I would like to try to apply for second rounds this year (1st one is due Jan 5), but am aware that that might not work and I am okay with that if I need to push my applications to the next year. Unfortunate, but that's okay. My next worry is if I try again, is 16 days enough to help diminish my anxiety from anyone's experience if I go to the same location? I would like to retake the exam at the same location since I enjoyed the proctors and the general set up, etc. I think repeating that would help diminish test anxiety, but I'd like to see if anyone other has had success.

Ultimately, I worry the same anxiety will hit when I'm sitting in front of the computer though. I mainly struggle with gaining good sleep before hand, and calming my nerves during the actual sections. I have the same anxiety with practice exams, but they're just not as intense, so I try to take exams to get myself used to the anxiety, but I'm just unable to get rid of it entirely.

Any personal experience to help me feel less insane? Haha :please
I also kept my score for both. Should I cancel the second one due to how low it was from my practice exams?

See below for my stats.

First Official
Date: 10/10/2018
Attempted Score: 650
Score: 44Q/33V - 630
Note: Poor first time experience added to anxiety. Poor proctor instruction (not my first exam at a proctored center; took series 7 and 33 at a diff center before). No waiting area/no seating available for pre-exam or breaks. Restroom on opposite side of building. Chose not to go to the same test location for the second one.

Study Schedule
Frequency: 4 days a week in the evening after work for about 2-3 hours; 1 day during the weekend for about 3-4 hours. Private tutor every other week from Manhattan on weekend. Same study schedule prior to the first exam as well.
General: I could tell my math was improving significantly. I was able to grasp concepts and apply them much clearer than when I took my first exam. Verbal was a bit harder for me to feel more concrete in, but I was able to increase my general knowledge in rules for Sentence Correction which helped increase my score when I would break down the verbal sections of my practice exams.

Practice Exams
Manhattan: 12/3/2018; 44Q/35V - 650
GMAT Off: 12/8/2018; 47Q/42V - 720
GMAT Off: 12/12/2018; 43Q/41V - 700

**Note: I did not study the night before to calm my nerves. Only did drills the day before that to rest. Day before--I ate a burrito (fav food) and watched British Baking Show on Netflix to relax. They're just so calming :). Went into bed at 10:30 PM. Exam is at 11:00 AM; Got out of bed at 8:30 AM. Had my normal breakfast of oatmeal (with walnuts and cranberries) and eggs.

Second Official
Date: 12/15/2018
Attempted Score: 670
Score: 42Q/34V - 620
Note: Smoother check in process than my first exam. I enjoyed this exam location. Overall, still was anxious during the entire exam. Heart beating out of chest. Dry mouth. Frazzled for second half of every section even though timing was fine. Anxiety got worse as the exam continued.
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Re: Another Test Anxiety Case  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2018, 20:53
dlee61 wrote:
Ultimately, I worry the same anxiety will hit when I'm sitting in front of the computer though. I mainly struggle with gaining good sleep before hand, and calming my nerves during the actual sections. I have the same anxiety with practice exams, but they're just not as intense, so I try to take exams to get myself used to the anxiety, but I'm just unable to get rid of it entirely.

Any personal experience to help me feel less insane? Haha :please
I also kept my score for both. Should I cancel the second one due to how low it was from my practice exams?
How about a moderate workout every day the week of the exam? That might help with sleep.

I've also noticed that (a) test takers who really believe that their GMATPrep scores are representative have an easier time managing pressure (unless they decide to try for a GMATPrep +40 score on the day of the exam!) and (b) retakers who are "just so mad at the exam" also seem to handle exam pressure well :)

What has worked for you in similar situations in the past?
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New post 16 Dec 2018, 15:33
Your GMAT mock test scores are similar to mine. My first exam is scheduled for the 27th of this month, so I have no clue how I'll do on the actual exam quite yet, but I keep telling myself all of the effort and struggles that I've put in will not be in vein. I believe the GMAT Prep tests will be similar to the actual exam. The comforting thing I have is that on every practice GMAT Prep I've taken, including one in which I managed to score a Q49, I've made several careless mistakes. I keep telling myself that with a bit more practice and by messing up now, I'll (hopefully) avoid these mistakes come exam day.

I'm also a very nervous test taker, but I keep telling myself I've put in the time to be successful and I'm due. It's almost a ritualistic mantra. When going through my GMAT Preps, I find that there's only 1 or 2 questions that I really am baffled by on the quant side. And I keep reminding myself of that. Your verbal scores are excellent - you're clearly in the 90th+ percentile there. And as AjiteshArun stated has worked for some, if I don't do well now, I will take a "furious" mindset for my re-take ^_^.

Edit: Forgot to say good luck moving forward. I wish you the best in your studies. If nothing else, know this: many other people, if not most, are also nervous when taking this test. You're not along - believe in the effort you've put in and don't worry about the results while taking the exam- just focus on the question in front of you, one question at a time.
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Re: Another Test Anxiety Case  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2018, 01:19
Hi, dlee61

It seems that you are struggling with your test anxiety. If you think that sleeplessness before the test is the most serious problem that should be solved, I also want to recommend you to exercise moderately and take a shower, which helps you to sleep easily and deeply. However, doing something on purpose also means that you are conscious of the test and this kind of consciousness can make your body anxious unconsciously.

So I would rather keep my daily pattern that is exactly same with usual days. This will prevent your body from getting anxiety unconsciously. Also, I want to recommend you to take mock tests several times. You should be familiar with the test condition. It is one good way for you to set a date when you take a mock test. The quantity and quality of mock tests should be same or better than the real GMAT test. And you’d better make the place where you take a mock test similar with the place where you take official GMAT test. For example, you can rearrange your stuff. Taking a mock test: once per week, once per month and so on.. you can set it on your own way. However, you should keep in mind that before starting working on GMAT in earnest, you should firstly set a date which cannot be changed later on, and prepare it for the following days. By this way, I could be familiar with and overcame test anxiety.

Here are some tips!

[Physical Condition]
Do your intensive studying until the week before the exam, and make sure you get enough sleep at least 3-4 days before the exam. Maintaining good physical condition while taking the exam will help
you to get a good score.

[The power of Chocolate and Banana]
The day before the exam, eat chocolate and banana. According to the research on education, secretion of glucose increases rapidly for logic tests. If you eat chocolate, sugar is converted into glucose the next day and helps you when you take the logic exam. Also, banana helps you strengthen your concentration.

[Abdominal breathing on the day of the exam]
All exams make a person tense. Before the exam, relieve tension by trying abdominal breathing for 3 or more minutes. It is also useful in between the breaks. (1) Put both hands on your stomach (2) Slowly take a deep breath (3) Hold your breath for 3 seconds (4) Breath out very slowly

Check out our free trial pack and free video lessons on our site at mathrevolution.com See if our materials work for you! While there, don’t forget to try our free diagnostic test!!

Please let us know if you have further questions.
You can reach us at info@mathrevolution.com

Success is within your reach,
Good luck!
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New post 18 Dec 2018, 11:04
Hi dlee61,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, scores of 620 and 630, although lower than your goal scores, are not that bad!! If we can get your anxiety under control, I think you can easily hit your 670 score goal. One great way to keep your anxiety at bay is to develop a positive attitude and be confident. Look, you’ve scored 700+ on two practice GMATs, right? So, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you CAN hit your score goal!

To help further manage your nerves, you could try some visualization techniques. Imagine various test-day scenarios such as getting stuck on a question, issues in the testing center, feeling pressed for time, or worrying that you’re underperforming. As you feel your stress responses start to kick in when thinking about these things, practice pulling yourself together and visualize focusing on getting correct answers.

When taking the GMAT, the best way to deal with stress is to get busy answering the question in front of you, focusing completely on the task at hand so that you redirect all of that nervous energy and naturally calm down. In other words, you distract yourself with a goal. Just tell yourself that all that matters is getting the correct answer to the question in front of you, and then when you have finished that question, take the same attitude toward the next one. Focus on winning each “mini-battle” and you won't have time for anxiety. If you can win enough of those battles, you can win the GMAT war, right?

I wrote an article that provides some more detailed advice about how to limit GMAT anxiety, which you may find helpful.

Please reach out with any further questions.

Let’s do this!!
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New post 05 Feb 2019, 18:59
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Hello!

I went pretty quiet on this but I wanted to tell everyone thank you so much for their advice because I definitely took it to heart and actively used it during my exam and preparation up to. Firstly, I definitely took my anger and let that push my anxiety aside. I still struggled and I got anxious during verbal halfway through as I recognized the questions started getting significantly harder, but I was still happy that I was mentally better in general with pacing and anxiety. Secondly, envisioning obstacles prior to taking my real one helped tremendously as well. Along with keeping my routine fairly the same and not "treating myself" right before the exam since I realized that was subconsciously increasing my anxiety. My final attempt was a 640 (44Q/35V).

Not the 670 I was really aiming for but I applied to my top programs with that score, and I was accepted into my #1 choice yesterday at Booth!

Thank you all so much for the advice and I am incredibly excited for the next chapter!!
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Re: Another Test Anxiety Case  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 20:34
dlee61 wrote:
Hello!

I went pretty quiet on this but I wanted to tell everyone thank you so much for their advice because I definitely took it to heart and actively used it during my exam and preparation up to. Firstly, I definitely took my anger and let that push my anxiety aside. I still struggled and I got anxious during verbal halfway through as I recognized the questions started getting significantly harder, but I was still happy that I was mentally better in general with pacing and anxiety. Secondly, envisioning obstacles prior to taking my real one helped tremendously as well. Along with keeping my routine fairly the same and not "treating myself" right before the exam since I realized that was subconsciously increasing my anxiety. My final attempt was a 640 (44Q/35V).

Not the 670 I was really aiming for but I applied to my top programs with that score, and I was accepted into my #1 choice yesterday at Booth!

Thank you all so much for the advice and I am incredibly excited for the next chapter!!
That's great news! All the best for the future :)
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New post 07 Feb 2019, 18:55
Wow, I’m so happy for you!! Good luck with things moving forward.
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Re: Another Test Anxiety Case   [#permalink] 07 Feb 2019, 18:55
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