You’ve prepped for months, sacrificed happy hours and quality time with your friends and stayed up late and risen early just to get in an extra few drills. Much like an endurance athlete, you’ve put in the time, and the only thing left to do is execute. Often the hardest part of the days leading up to test day is doing nothing and clearing your mind. In this week’s GMAT Tip, we take a look at three things you shouldn’t be wasting your time on during that week (and on test day).
1. No Excuses. We’ve all had one of those folks in the classroom, the guy or gal who complains (or almost boasts) about how little they’ve studied for a test and then proceeds to set the curve. It’s almost as if the complaining is a down payment explanation in case things don’t go as planned. If you’ve done the work and put in the time, don’t start listing reasons why your score won’t be as good as you had hoped. Maybe you had the flu for two weeks or had to move suddenly. At the end of the day, excuses aren’t going to improve your score and an admissions officer isn’t going to set a different curve for you based on what may or may not have happened on your road to the GMAT. Anxiety and fear is an easy default mode to fall into when you’re stressed. Take some time to focus on the positive things you’ve accomplished and how those will enable you to succeed on test day.
2. Channel Mistakes and Failure. We all second guess what we could’ve or should’ve done differently. Your road to GMAT success should be littered with mistakes and things you wish you could’ve done differently, but chances are you walked away learning something from each of those moments. It’s a good thing those moments aren’t officially recorded on your score report. Take those missteps, learn from them and move on. Maybe it’s pacing or being able to stay focused halfway through the verbal section because you’ve been concentrating for almost 3 hours? Regardless, take stock of those moments, but also recall what you learned and how you’ve subsequently improved at data sufficiency or critical reasoning.
3. Full Speed Ahead. At some point, you’ll need to stop fixating on what you haven’t done and start looking ahead to the task at hand. Have you done a dry run to the test center? Do you know how you’ll get there? Have you figured out what you want to eat and drink during your breaks? Have you identified the “minimum” score you’ll be happy with, and thought through what you’ll do if things don’t go the way you planned? Stop comparing yourself to other folks in your GMAT class or the supposed gurus posting online about their “secret recipe for success.” The only person you’re competing with on test day is yourself. You know what your strengths are and how to play to them. So take some time, run through your test day plan, and trust in the prep you’ve done.
The days leading up to test day can be tough because there’s not much more studying or learning you can do that will truly have an impact on your performance. Take some time to look back and appreciate the work you’ve put in. It can be tough to do it when you’re constantly getting swept up the in moment, but having the mental confidence going into test day that you’ve done everything you can to set yourself up for success will pay dividends.
The above GMAT Tip comes from Veritas Prep. Since its founding in 2002, Veritas Prep has helped more than 100,000 students prepare for the GMAT and offers the most highly rated GMAT Prep course in the industry.