The GRE exam is the most critical step towards securing admission in a reputed overseas graduate school and the performance pressure can be overwhelming. Obviously, taking any exam that will govern your likelihood at entering the school of your choice can surge up anxiety levels, and GRE is one such inescapable nightmare for many. No wonder then that more than 50% students retake the exam. While a little stress can, in fact, be an instigator of an enhanced performance, the trouble begins when it restricts one’s capability to study and consequently hampers his/her performance. While you can’t really totally eliminate the stress, you sure can bring it to a manageable level.
●Your mind is constantly gripped by fear of failure
● Negative thoughts clouding you for no reason
● Total blank out
● Trouble in concentrating
● Excessive Perspiration
● Rapid Heartbeats
Dealing with GRE Anxiety
The first logical step is to ascertain the true nature of your anxiety. If your anxiety is stemming from the fact that you lack adequate preparation, it is but absolutely natural to feel jittery. Conversely, if you are amply prepared, but still panic, it’s definitely a cause of concern. Some people are born “worry freaks”, who dread anything or everything, while others are “iron willed”. Whichever category you fall into, your chances of scoring well in GRE, apart from your preparation and strategy, is heavily dependent on your temperament too.
How to tackle GRE anxiety
The GRE exam can be distressing and completely overwhelming at times, but the good news is that it can be relieved in most people by taking care of a few things. While exam stress will not entirely melt away, it would definitely get a lot better. Here are a few steps that could help you beat the examination stress:
1. Get familiar with the structure and pattern of the test and understand the direction of the test clearly. The best way to do it is to solve Sample Test Papers over a period of time.
2. Start timing yourself while you try to solve the sample test papers, and you will realize that as you acquaint yourself with the test papers, your efficiency and time taken to solve will also start improving.
3. Establish a daily routine and set some time aside dedicatedly for solving sample test papers. As you start to discipline yourself, the feeling of taking GRE will naturally start sinking into your system and your level of comfort would gradually increase.
4. With consistent practice, you start gaining a certain level of mastery. Not only will your scores shoot up, but your confidence will also shoot up.
5. A good institute will not only help you prepare appropriately but will also help you, through their GRE coaching and GRE classes, in improving your chances through a number of practice exams.
6. Rather than saying “I have to take this test”, say “I want to take this test”. Just a little change in attitude makes you feel empowered. You are in charge and ready to take on the test with a smile.
7. Try to drive your train of thoughts to positive direction with positive affirmations like “I can do it” and “I am worth it”.
8. Cognitive psychology emphasizes on the importance of daily study for creating prolonged and better memory. It is worth investing some quality time every day over a period of time for your studies rather than cramming up at the eleventh hour.
9. You don’t need to master concepts but acquaint yourself with the way they are tested. You don’t need to beat Einstein to crack the GRE; all you need to do is to approach the question in the most logical way.
10. Solid training, positive attitude, and complete relaxation will naturally eliminate the stress bacteria from your system.
11. The more relaxed you are, the better chances you have in our exams, 25 percent higher than while you are anxious and apprehensive.
12. The best way to conquer your fear is to know your stuff well. Even an accomplished mind will get jittery if it is not fully prepared, and even the most demanding subjects can be grasped by students with an average IQ if one is well-prepared.
13. Techniques such as deep breathing, positive affirmations and visualization can help you distress to a large extent. Don’t forget to surround yourself with positive people and thoughts.
14. Never compare your scores with your friends or peers, who are taking the test with you. This is one of the major reasons of anxiety due to peer pressure. GRE is percentile based examination and the percentile can keep fluctuating daily on the ETS website.
15. Make sure you start training your biological clock as per your GRE test timings by sitting and solving the test papers in the given time window. For example: If you are taking your test between 9 am to 1 pm, you must start solving sample test papers during this period.
Taking the GRE is not a sprint but a full-fledged marathon. The more practice and training you have, better are your chances of overcoming the anxiety and increasing the success rate.