Feeling nervous before taking the GMAT or GRE is quite natural for business school applicants. After all, they’ve invested hundreds of hours studying – and maybe thousands of dollars on tutors – in order to perform well. And the resulting test score is going to play a huge role in determining if the candidate will be invited to interview and ultimately is offered admission. So, “sweaty palms” is a given.
However, if what you’re feeling is more than just “nervousness,” then you may be experiencing test anxiety. This can be a severe condition that actually impairs your test results and perhaps even your mental and physical well-being.
So, what can you do to mitigate this anxiety? Based on our experience as admissions consultants, The MBA Exchange has a few immediate suggestions. The first step is to prepare thoroughly and productively. This could be mean using popular study guides, participating in prep classes or engaging an expert 1-on-1 tutor. Second, you should strive to maintain a positive attitude; believing that you can succeed will help keep negative thoughts from entering your head. And third, you can anticipate and avoid distractions on test day by getting a good night’s sleep, having a healthy meal, and arriving at the test site 15-20 minutes early. These common-sense tactics should be helpful.
However, for some MBA applicants simple steps are not sufficient. Their thoughts and/or feelings are simply too invasive to let them perform to the best of their ability. Such individuals may try again and again to overcome anxiety, but persistence only adds to the problem. And discussing the situation with well-meaning but uninformed friends or relatives can sometimes make anxiety feel even worse.
If this sounds like your situation, then consider engaging a professional – such as a licensed clinical psychologist – to help you address and get past this roadblock. Such experts have knowledge, skills and proven techniques that could enable you to breakthrough and achieve a score that accurately reflects your abilities.
Gaining admission top business schools is difficult enough without having to deal test anxiety. So, before you allow it to shatter your MBA dreams, take a good look at yourself and take action to get yourself in the frame of mind to do your very best on test day!