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GMAT section order selection confusion

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 02:28
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I will be taking my GMAT in exactly 2 weeks from today and I have a really important question. What are the drawbacks of taking AWA IR first. I have a tendency to get extremely nervous in the test centre, so thought taking AWA and IR may calm me down and help me warm up before Quant and then Verbal. Could anyone help. I am decent in Quant-Q48-49 and not so good in verbal V-32-33.OR should I go for Quant first, but because I have this weird nervous strain in me I may commit silly mistakes or will taking AWA IR make one really tired
HELP PLEASE!
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New post 02 Aug 2019, 03:19
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Midhila - No one but YOU can tell what section order suits you. Having said that, I would advice you to push AWA + IR to the very end.

Exam anxiety can throw even the most prepared test takers off balance. Therefore, the GMAT experts always recommend that practice tests be taken in ideal testing conditions so that the test day experience can be somehow replicated. Even after considering all those advice, you should always mentally prepare your self for any kind of surprise. I personally recommend that you practice meditation or some kind of breathing exercises in the weeks following up to the test day. During the test, you should be calm & composed and not let your nerves get to you. Also, practice light exercises, anything that you are comfortable with, in the weeks following up to the test day.

Most importantly, please practice 3 questions from each of the 5 sections: PS, DS, SC, CR, and RC on the test day, before leaving for the test center. A total of 15 questions would not take more than 30 mins. Doing so is highly recommended and you should develop that habit in your practice tests as well. All the best.
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New post 02 Aug 2019, 03:39
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That totally depends on you. Try out the different combinations and see what works best for you.
For example someone might prefer doing quant at the start as it might be his or her strong suit. So, get it done with quickly then focus on verbal and then do IR and AWA.
Whereas someone might prefer doing verbal at the start because he or she knows that quant they can do easily so consume most of your brain power on verbal first.
So, it depends what works best for you.
Experiment and strategize accordingly.

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 04:38
DisciplinedPrep wrote:
Midhila - No one but YOU can tell what section order suits you. Having said that, I would advice you to push AWA + IR to the very end.

Exam anxiety can throw even the most prepared test takers off balance. Therefore, the GMAT experts always recommend that practice tests be taken in ideal testing conditions so that the test day experience can be somehow replicated. Even after considering all those advice, you should always mentally prepare your self for any kind of surprise. I personally recommend that you practice meditation or some kind of breathing exercises in the weeks following up to the test day. During the test, you should be calm & composed and not let your nerves get to you. Also, practice light exercises, anything that you are comfortable with, in the weeks following up to the test day.

Most importantly, please practice 3 questions from each of the 5 sections: PS, DS, SC, CR, and RC on the test day, before leaving for the test center. A total of 15 questions would not take more than 30 mins. Doing so is highly recommended and you should develop that habit in your practice tests as well. All the best.


thank you so much for this piece of advice. I think you are right, staying calm would help me score better rather than trying to attempt AWA IR first and getting tired later. :)
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New post 02 Aug 2019, 10:19
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Hi Midhila,

When taking your practice exams have you taken AWA and IR first? If so, how have you performed? I think the key is that you make a decision regarding test order and then stick with it. You know what I mean?

Also, regarding anxiety, to help 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.

Please reach out with any further questions.
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New post 02 Aug 2019, 11:04
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi Midhila,

When taking your practice exams have you taken AWA and IR first? If so, how have you performed? I think the key is that you make a decision regarding test order and then stick with it. You know what I mean?

Also, regarding anxiety, to help 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.

Please reach out with any further questions.


Hi Scott,

Thank you so much for taking out time to write such detailed explanation. I have not taken AWA IR first in any previous practice tests. I am planning to take GMAT prep exam 3 over the weekend and experiment with the section order. Will definitely practice the visualization technique. I think I need loads of practice.
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Re: GMAT section order selection confusion  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 14:09
Hi Midhila,

Most Test Takers will have the most energy early-on in the Exam - so as a general rule, it's a good idea to take the Quant and Verbal sections early-on (as opposed to taking them after the Essay and IR sections, when you might become a little tired and not perform at your best). That having been said, if you can keep a high energy level for the entire 3.5 hours, then it's possible that taking the Essay and IR sections might help you to settle into the proper Test 'mindset' for the later sections. Each practice CAT that you take provides you with a great opportunity to measure your GMAT skills under proper testing conditions - so you have to put in the extra effort to make each of those experiences match-up with what you will face on Test Day (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). If you plan to take the GMAT sections in a different order, then you should try that order out during practice - and train for it.

Before I can offer you any additional advice for your studies, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your overall goal score?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 20:38
Every testtaker deals with nervous energy, so you can take comfort in that knowledge.

Regardless of the above, I do not recommend taking AWA and IR in the beginning. You will be wasting most of your pent-up energy in sections that do not, for the most part, count in admissions. Yes, you will release some energy, but consider that you will also lose much of that same energy.

As for verbal versus quant, that is somewhat of a tossup. I personally recommend doing verbal first as you will be mostly reading in the first hour. Once you take control of yourself, you can get ready for quant which will require spending energy doing lots of writing.

Make your limited energy count on exam day.

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 21:24
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Sounds good. Let me know how it goes.


Hi Scott,

I did take the GMAT exam 3. I did AWA IR first and then quants and then verbal. I got a 670 (though my target is 700). This definitely was better than taking verbal first and also made me a little less nervous.
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New post 08 Aug 2019, 19:20
Midhila wrote:
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Sounds good. Let me know how it goes.


Hi Scott,

I did take the GMAT exam 3. I did AWA IR first and then quants and then verbal. I got a 670 (though my target is 700). This definitely was better than taking verbal first and also made me a little less nervous.


So, looks like that may be a good order for test day.
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GMAT section order selection confusion  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 01:49
Midhila wrote:
I will be taking my GMAT in exactly 2 weeks from today and I have a really important question. What are the drawbacks of taking AWA IR first. I have a tendency to get extremely nervous in the test centre, so thought taking AWA and IR may calm me down and help me warm up before Quant and then Verbal. Could anyone help. I am decent in Quant-Q48-49 and not so good in verbal V-32-33.OR should I go for Quant first, but because I have this weird nervous strain in me I may commit silly mistakes or will taking AWA IR make one really tired
HELP PLEASE!


You have a limited amount of energy and focus that you can spend in one sitting. Spending them on AWA IR first will reduce the amount you have left to spend on Q/V, the sections that schools care about the most. If you feel that you are strong enough at Quant to handle your nerves, maybe you could try easing into the exam with Q, and then V.
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GMAT section order selection confusion   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2019, 01:49
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