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# How to boost confidence on test day?

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Intern
Joined: 28 Jul 2018
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How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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27 Nov 2018, 06:45
Hi! When I take prep tests I feel a bit nervous and that so much is depending on the test. I think this anxiety and doubtfullness worsen my performance (especially on Verbal). But when I for instance review my answers knowing I don't need to stress and that I can read the question without panicing, I perfom a lot better, I mean a lot better! I can probably increase 50-80 points. Of course, I understand that this behaviour isn't uncommon. Do you guys understand what kind of probem I am referring to? What is your best tip to not stress and to answer the questions without panicing? All tips are appreciated, even the most obvious!

Best regards,
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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27 Nov 2018, 07:03
Not sure if there is one answer to it . The pointers works for me are :
1) Zero expectation on the test.
2) Recognize this is only a test , just a test !!
Always welcome other perspectives.
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Thanks in appreciation.

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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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27 Nov 2018, 22:30
Hi Hatethissh,

About 3 weeks ago, you stated that you had not taken any realistic FULL-LENGTH CATs yet. Based on this post, it sounds as if you have taken at least a couple over the last few weeks. How did you Score on those CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?

You also stated that you were planning to take the GMAT in November and in December. Is that still your plan?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2018, 02:09
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Hatethissh,

About 3 weeks ago, you stated that you had not taken any realistic FULL-LENGTH CATs yet. Based on this post, it sounds as if you have taken at least a couple over the last few weeks. How did you Score on those CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?

You also stated that you were planning to take the GMAT in November and in December. Is that still your plan?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

Hello! That's correct, I have taken some, scored between 560-600 (approx Q42 and V25). I need to improve at least to 640 until January. I will see the test this week as practice. Of course I need to improve the Verbal part most, especially RC, and also CR. I need to setup a structured study plan for RC and CR for the next test. But like I mentioned, when I am answering all the questions without the pressure, I score a lot higher...

Thoughts?

Best regards,
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Joined: 02 Nov 2011
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2018, 03:48
Hi Hatethissh

It is good to see that you are determined to reach your target score. Since you have mentioned test anxiety to be the problem that prevented you from performing at your potential, I think the following article will be useful for you:
- 10 tips - How to tackle GMAT anxiety

Hope this helps. If you have any further queries regarding GMAT, please feel free to write to us at support@e-gmat.com.

Regards,
Aditee
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2018, 19:57
Hi Hatethissh,

I'd still like to know your exact results from your CATs (to define the types of potential patterns in your work so far):

1) On which dates did you take each of your CATs?
2) How did you score on EACH CAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
3) Did you end up taking the GMAT in November? If you did, then how did you Score?

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2018, 03:27
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Hatethissh,

I'd still like to know your exact results from your CATs (to define the types of potential patterns in your work so far):

1) On which dates did you take each of your CATs?
2) How did you score on EACH CAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
3) Did you end up taking the GMAT in November? If you did, then how did you Score?

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

This is all the information I have about the tests that I have taken:
- Economist tutor mini test. Estimate: 650-680, Q46-47, V35-38 (2018-10-21)
- Veritas Prep. Predicted score: 590, Q41/60, V31/60 (2018-11-22)
- GMAT Prep. Predicted score: 560, Q42, V25 (2018-11-26)
- Kaplan Prep. Predicted score: 630, Q48, V29 (2018-11-28)

For the Quant, I make a lot of silly mistakes. For instance in GMAT Prep and Veritas Prep, all the questions that was wrong was because of mistakes. I am pretty good at reviewing math problems and I think it's easy to learn from the mistakes and improve. For the Verbal part, especially on CR, i make some carless mistakes. However I think it's very very hard to improve, I guess I don't have a good structure for that, especially for RC (and CR).

I wouldn't say that the questions on the verbal part were Too hard, just that I didn't have time to finish it or that I couldn't focus (the problem that I discussed earler in this forum). I am pretty good at narrowing down to two answers for Critical Reasoning.

To summarize, the Quant part is okay I would say. I will hopefully improve a little bit more as I am reviewing. The Verbal part though needs to be improved, just don't know how. Also regarding Verbal part, when I get stressed I underperform (the reason why I started this topic, probably the reason why my score differ that much).

I will hopefully take three GMAT tests in total: One tomorrow, one around 19th of December and the third one around 13th of January... Aiming for a score between 640-660 as of now.
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2018, 15:35
Hi Hatethissh,

If you are planning to take the Official GMAT tomorrow, then you should not attempt to learn anything 'new' today - and you should not do too much studying either (a little light review is fine, but NO CATs and NO 'cramming'). You will be better served by getting some extra rest, so that you can go into Test Day calm and ready to work. Once you have your Unofficial Scores, you should post back here and we can discuss the results.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

# Rich Cohen

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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2018, 21:20
Hatethissh

See if these discussions are helpful to your cause.
Happy study prep
_________________

It's the journey that brings us happiness not the destination.

Intern
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Posts: 8
Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2018, 08:30
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Hatethissh,

If you are planning to take the Official GMAT tomorrow, then you should not attempt to learn anything 'new' today - and you should not do too much studying either (a little light review is fine, but NO CATs and NO 'cramming'). You will be better served by getting some extra rest, so that you can go into Test Day calm and ready to work. Once you have your Unofficial Scores, you should post back here and we can discuss the results.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

Hello EMPOWERgmatRichC!

Just finished the GMAT test. It went really bad and I think I underperformed a lot. I scored 550 (Q35, V31).

Again, here are my previous prep tests:
- Economist tutor mini test. Estimate: 650-680, Q46-47, V35-38 (2018-10-21)
- Veritas Prep. Predicted score: 590, Q41/60, V31/60 (2018-11-22)
- GMAT Prep. Predicted score: 560, Q42, V25 (2018-11-26)
- Kaplan Prep. Predicted score: 630, Q48, V29 (2018-11-28)

I would say that Veritas Prep, GMAT Prep and Kaplan Prep are the only prep tests that are good enough to compare with the real test.

Verbal: So I actually over performed on the Verbal part, and still I choked a lot, especially on the CR and RC questions. I think that the issue about stress/anxiety ruined it for me on those parts.
Quant: For the Quant part, I majorly underperformed. Compared to the other scores, for instance GMAT Prep and Kaplan, I scored in average 10 Q-points below. As I explained above, I think I got stressed, also I think I made a lot of stupid mistakes. However, after taking the test, these are the types of questions that I know that I need to focus on:

- Word problem. Haven't studied it at all, even though it's my weakest part. Overall, problems with "text" are so much harder for me than just equation problems.
- Ratio. Always thought ratio problems are easy, but I think I need to improve it a little bit.
- Mixture problem. When they mixture different liquids etc.
- Bond valuation (interest questions).
- Probability.
- Some basic overall knowledge (for instance all terms, formulas etc).
- Of course increase my level on all parts.

My next test will be in 20 days. I will work during that time, so I will study around 6 hours per day in average. Hopefully I can take the next week off and study 100%. I will take the next test in January, but won't focus on that for now.

The positive thing is that I think it's easier to improve the Quant part. Also, I would say that I am pretty decent at math (despite my weak result). What are your thoughts? What kind of study plan should I set up? How can I best increase my score? Is it doable to increase with 100 points during this time?

Best regards,
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2018, 14:58
Hi Hatethissh,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. To start, the process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. By taking 3 CATs in the week before your Official GMAT, there's a reasonable chance that you experienced some 'burn out' on Test Day. Even if you didn't "feel" tired, your drop in Quant Scaled Score implies that you were making lots of little mistakes (meaning that you were not at your best on Test Day).

Considering the 'swings' in your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores, it's possible that you could hit your Score Goal in 20 days - but it's also possible that you could Score in the mid-500s again - or lower - especially if if you are prone to making those same silly/little mistakes. From what you describe, you are planning to 'cram' your studies for the next few weeks. Unfortunately, that type of 'volume' in such a short period of time rarely leads to great results on Tests such as the GMAT - and it would again increase your chances of burn out before your next Exam.

Given everything that you have described, I would suggest that you push back your Test Date into January, so that you could commit to a more structured and reasonable Study Plan. There's no real 'harm' in taking the GMAT as scheduled, but you could save some time, money and aggravation by giving yourself 1-2 months of additional study (instead of the 20 days you have now).

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2018, 03:02
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Hatethissh,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. To start, the process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. By taking 3 CATs in the week before your Official GMAT, there's a reasonable chance that you experienced some 'burn out' on Test Day. Even if you didn't "feel" tired, your drop in Quant Scaled Score implies that you were making lots of little mistakes (meaning that you were not at your best on Test Day).

Considering the 'swings' in your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores, it's possible that you could hit your Score Goal in 20 days - but it's also possible that you could Score in the mid-500s again - or lower - especially if if you are prone to making those same silly/little mistakes. From what you describe, you are planning to 'cram' your studies for the next few weeks. Unfortunately, that type of 'volume' in such a short period of time rarely leads to great results on Tests such as the GMAT - and it would again increase your chances of burn out before your next Exam.

Given everything that you have described, I would suggest that you push back your Test Date into January, so that you could commit to a more structured and reasonable Study Plan. There's no real 'harm' in taking the GMAT as scheduled, but you could save some time, money and aggravation by giving yourself 1-2 months of additional study (instead of the 20 days you have now).

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

I am planning to take it in January, around the 14th. But can it be bad to take it in 19 days as well? It will give me extra practice. Or do you think it's better just to focus on the test in January?

How do you think I should set up my Quant studies for these coming weeks? I have made an Excel sheet with all the different topics in Quant and marked it after how good I perform. I will go in depth in every topic (watch clips and do those kinds of problems) and do the rest of the OG problems. What else?

Best regards,
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2018, 13:03
Hi Hatethissh,

From what you have described, it sounds as if this next phase of your studies is going to revolve around working through lots of practice questions - but it's not clear what you are going to do differently this time. To score significantly higher on the GMAT - and avoid making the little mistakes that likely occurred during this last attempt - you have to train to 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT in a different way. Simply continuing to study in the same ways as before would probably not be the 'solution' that you need - especially if 'your way' of approaching Quant questions leaves you open to making little mistakes; the shorter study timeframe also does not help.

For practical purposes, you almost certainly need a Study Plan that focuses on training you in the proper Tactics, patterns and little 'secrets' of the GMAT - and then you have to commit to properly training for the Exam. To reiterate a prior point - there's no harm in retaking the GMAT in 19 days, but if you're likely to end up with another Score that doesn't make you happy and you need to retest again, then there's no benefit to rushing back in to retest (it will cost you time and money that would be better spent on a more disciplined approach).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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# Rich Cohen

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Re: How to boost confidence on test day?  [#permalink]

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03 Dec 2018, 16:54
Hi Hatethissh,

GMAT anxiety plagues MANY test-takers, so just understand that you are not alone. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your testing anxiety. First off, 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 (or a practice 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’ve 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.

Let’s do this!!
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Re: How to boost confidence on test day? &nbs [#permalink] 03 Dec 2018, 16:54
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