First off, sorry for the long delay in blog posts. Constantly working with my awesome students and devising new plans of attack in both business and the test prep world, I have let the blog slip a little bit.
However, a couple of things have happened this week that have made me rethink my position as a GMAT tutor and coach.
First and foremost: the struggle is between the testtaker and the testtaker, not the testtaker and the test!
Being among the top GMAT instructors in London arguably puts me in contact with the top GMAT takers in the world (that’s you!).
However, a consistent problem that I’ve noticed has to do with exam confidence. That is, what I call the “GMAT vs. GRE problem.”
As some of you might know, the GRE and the GMAT are two tests designed for entry into different types of program. While there is some crossover, GRE is predominantly aimed for academic graduate programs while the GMAT is aimed toward professional, business and finance-oriented programs.
In my experience and life, I have had great experience with both tests and find that neither is “easier” or “more difficult” than the other but that they—especially since the 2011 changes to the GRE and the 2012 changes to the GMAT—simply have different “personalities.”
The real difference, in short, is the mindset of the testtaker. It is very common for a high-achieving GMAT client to worry too much about performance on the exam. Without a good GMAT score, that McKinsey job might not materialize, or that interview with LBS may never happen!
OMG! WTF! I’ll never succeed!
Sure, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his arse when he hops. Really, this is not an effective way to look at preparation or even the GMAT exam itself.
How do GRE testtakers look at it? Generally, with what I call a “friendly contempt” for the exam.
That is, they say, “This is stupid, and I can crack it.” If they don’t do as well as they like, they take it again. They keep their nose down. After all, it’s only a computerized exam. It’s not like it’s the rest of their lives.
“But it is the rest of my life!”
Yes, and you could be hit by a bus tomorrow. What would that do to your GMAT score?
GRE testtakers tend to keep their noses down and keep worries out of their minds. They do what is necessary to perform, and if the performance doesn’t happen on the day, they just keep plugging away.
After all, what is deferring the application for one semester if that means the difference between a Top 10 school and, well, a fallback?
Remember that GMAT preparation is just like preparation for an athletic event. You train to be able to perform on the day, but you will never know all of the variables at play until you are in the exact situation.
It takes time. You can’t cram. Keep going. As Seth Godin calls it, “the Dip” is what separates the achievers from those who simply give up. Lean in to the problem; don’t run from it!
Just for you, I am studying athletes and other high performers to determine ways to reduce test anxiety.
More info on this will come as I develop my newest project. Look out for updates each week!
If this sounds like you or you simply want more info, speak to a GMAT coach today!
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p.s. What is the Number One thing you can do in the next five minutes to improve your GMAT study?
p.p.s. A lesson learned from Ramit Sethi: ask why you want to take the GMAT, then ask why again, then again and again and again. See how the answer changes. Think about it.