Are you feeling stressed about the GRE test? You’re not alone. Most students feel anxious about standardized tests every year. Test anxiety can have a significant impact on your grades and performance. In order to achieve your desired score on the GRE, it is important to adopt ways to work with or overcome your testing anxiety. There are plenty of ways to help with GRE stress and perform your best on test day.
1. Understand why you’re feeling anxious and what’s causing your stress
Figure out the source of your anxiety and formulate a plan to cope with it. Some common sources of GRE test anxiety include:
- Fear about not doing as well as you think you should.
- Pressure from family and/or friends.
- Worrying about rules regarding time or breaks during the test.
- Worrying that you’ll lose your cool or forget information in the middle of a section.
Once you’ve figured out what’s causing your anxiety, develop a plan to help you overcome them. Remember, a little anxiety is a good thing – and completely normal!
2. Prepare as much as possible
Do plenty of research on the GRE test, find out when and where you are supposed to show up, what to bring with you, etc. All this information will help with GRE anxiety and relieve some pressure once the big day finally arrives. We suggest practicing getting to the GRE testing site before test day so that you know how to get there when the day arrives.
Prepare for “what ifs”. Anticipate different scenarios that could happen during your exam day so that there is no room for surprises. For example, what if you run out of time and can’t finish a section? (We suggest fine-tuning your internal clock while prepping for the exam so that you can have a good sense of how to pace yourself come text day) Having all of this information will provide you with a clear plan to put into action if these circumstances arise.
This is a tried and tested method of helping with GRE anxiety. Take several practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the actual GRE as closely as possible. Figure out what time limits work best for you and how much time you’ll need to complete each section of the real GRE. We work with our clients to develop their internal clock. A good test taker may look at the clock once or twice during the test. A great test-taker will never have to look at the clock once!
The GRE test is designed to be challenging. Don’t get discouraged if you are struggling with some concepts or don’t do as well as you would have liked on a practice test. But keep in mind, when you’re doing practice tests you’re not learning! You’re putting your knowledge to the test.
4. Get plenty of rest and eat healthily
A good night’s rest and a healthy diet can work wonders for your performance. Try to plan a schedule that gives you plenty of time to sleep at night, and allows for some time in the morning to get rid of any excess energy. This will help with GRE anxiety by keeping your mind clear and more focused to take in information.
Be your own cheerleader. Keep telling yourself that you’re going to do great and it will help you stay positive, help with GRE anxiety and help manage stress.
Remember that you’ve prepared well. If things start to get overwhelming, tell yourself everything is OK and remind yourself why you prepared so hard for this test. When you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe deeply. This can help with GRE anxiety and calm you down.
6. Talk about what’s bothering you with someone close to you
A parent, a close friend, or someone else you trust can be a great tool for alleviating your anxieties. Try to find help with GRE anxiety from those around you and not only help yourself but help them as well.
Discussing your concerns with someone you trust might help reduce the stress associated with the test. You can help with GRE anxiety by turning some of that anxious energy into productive conversation. Don’t be afraid of help and support – ask for it! Doesn’t matter if it’s help with GRE anxiety, help in some other area in your life, or just some simple advice. No one goes it alone.
7. Private GRE tutoring
If you are still struggling to overcome your anxiety, private help is available. A good private tutor can help you find strategies to overcome your anxiety regarding your test performance and help you truly learn the material.
A great tutor will help you feel less alone during this process. They can also guide you when it comes to test pressure and help you improve your test performance.
Finally, remember that this is just one test you will take in your life, and it’s not worth sacrificing your (mental) health or happiness over. You can do great things with your life regardless of your GRE score. Focus on what matters to you the most and strive for success. There is no “pass” or “fail” when it comes to life.
Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh