How to Turn Your GMAT Anxiety into a Source of Exam Power

Athletes, musicians, and other top performers all understand how to control their emotional states under pressure.

This is a make-or-break ability to develop in your GMAT prep, and it is sadly lacking in most GMAT courses.

That is not to say that you have to be perfectly calm—in fact, a certain amount of nervousness makes you alert enough to perform well. Adele, for example, publicly states that she is physically ill before major performances.

The difference, of course, is that she has learned to harness, then “ride” her fear.

What? How can you learn to use your fear and anxiety as a tool rather than a hindrance?

Simple: face your fears and harness the extra energy that they give you.

fear child gmat

The following exercise uses visualization and anchoring, two techniques well known in sports psychology, as an ability to develop control over your emotional state.

You can repeat this exercise any time you want. Practice the Square of Power as part of your daily study for at least a week. During this time, you will find that you can achieve your desired emotional state within seconds.

The exercise:

a)      Think of the day of the test: in particular, the moment you sit down and the countdown will begin.

b)      Choose three different emotional states (for instance: security, relaxation, focus) that you would like to feel during the test.

c)      Step out of this position, to a point where you are watching yourself.

d)      Imagine watching yourself: you stand at the centre of a square drawn in the ground in front of you. The square shines a colour: the colour that, for you, represents Security.

e)      Close your eyes and take a step into the square. Step into the “you” standing in the square.

f)       See through your eyes, listen through your ears, feel the sensations that you would feel in a state of pure Security.

g)      See the image become sharper and clearer. Hear the sounds become more intense. Feel the feelings spin through your body as they intensify to a pleasant, continuous hum.

h)      Feel the sense of security. Imagine expanding it, intensifying it as the colour of the square intensifies.

i)        Squeeze your thumb and forefinger together as the feeling peaks.

j)        Release your finger. Step out of the square. Look at the blue elephant.

k)      Repeat steps A to H with a state of perfect Relaxation and Focus.

l)        Imagine finding yourself in the situation of Point A. It is the day of the test and the test has just begun. Imagine facing that situation that was challenging, and squeeze your finger. Imagine your body radiating your colours for Security, Focus, and Relaxation.

m)   Note how much better you feel. Experience the situation anew, with your strong, new, awesome feelings.

Practice this exercise frequently, and you will hardwire the desired states of mind in your brain and in your body. These feelings will become so natural to you that you experience them without trying on the day of the GMAT exam.

While this exercise is great to beat the GMAT anxiety, you can use it for any situation in which you would like to feel awesome and perform at your best. Now go on, and deal with the challenges in your life with new empowered feelings.

Want another powerful tool against Anxiety? Don’t forget to check our other chosen technique: Re-Framing.

Want to Know More? Talk to a GMAT Coach today.

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