Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 1pm

GMAT Tips: 3 HUGE Mistakes to Avoid on GMAT Test Day

GMAT prep

Facing the official GMAT is a serious ‘event’ for just about everyone who walks into a GMAT testing facility. Online GMAT forums sometimes showcase the horror stories of what went wrong for individual test takers, but the providers that administer the GMAT tend to provide a normal testing ‘experience’, so there’s often nothing to worry about in that regard.

The GMAT is predictable, and can be prepared for; you can also train for the specifics of test day itself too. By planning ahead and using these GMAT tips, you can put yourself into the best position possible to succeed (and score at a high level). Part of this process is to avoid mistakes that regularly occur to test takers who are ill-prepared for test day.

Here are three cardinal test day sins.

1. Avoiding the MOST important meal of the day

Most people do their best thinking in the early part of the day, so starting your GMAT between the hours of 8am to 12pm can be quite advantageous. Perhaps more in the category of life tips than GMAT tips, eating an appropriate breakfast can also be advantageous. Since your brain requires food (and possibly caffeine) to function at a high level, breakfast should be a part of your daily routine.

As unbelievable as it may sound, some people actually skip breakfast in the morning – and that CANNOT be allowed to happen (especially on test day). In the weeks and months leading up to test day, you should plan to ‘experiment’ a bit with various breakfast foods. Certain foods/drinks will likely help you to stay at a high level of energy and focus for hours after you consume them.

2. Taking any study materials to the testing facility

If you’ve been diligently training for the test, then you already have all of the necessary content, tactics and GMAT tips memorized, so any last-minute cramming is absolutely unnecessary. The very act of cramming can actually raise your stress levels and have the opposite effect of its intent, so you should NOT do it. In addition, if you actually bring study materials with you into the testing center, you will be violating a rather specific exam rule. By doing so, and getting caught, you will NOT be allowed to take the GMAT as scheduled AND you’ll lose the $250 fee. You can certainly do a bit of warm up practice while you eat breakfast (see above), but you should plan to leave all of your study materials and thoughts of ‘cramming’ at home.

3. Planning to get to the testing facility ‘right on time’

Test day is understandably going to be an exciting day, but that does NOT mean that you can ignore the realities of day-to-day life. How long would it reasonably take you to get to the testing facility? Have you driven the route (or taken public transportation) at that time of day? There’s always the possibility of road construction, heavy traffic or some other inconsistency that could impact how long it will take you to get the testing location. If there’s any chance that you might be late – and experience the stress that comes with that feeling – then you MUST do everything in your power to NOT be late. By leaving a bit early (say 15-20 minutes earlier than you think you need to), you can almost guarantee that you won’t be late for your appointment.

As an extra bonus to file with the other GMAT tips, many testing facilities will actually allow you to start your GMAT early (if you show up a bit before your official test time), so you likely won’t have to wait in the lobby of the facility.

Training to perform at your best on test day requires more than just learning how to effectively answer GMAT questions. The broader concepts of making good decisions and avoiding silly mistakes applies to more than just the test itself, so it’s essential that you think (and plan) ahead for every aspect of test day that you can reasonably control. Thankfully, each of those little pieces is relatively easy to define, so you CAN properly prepare for all of them.

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Thanks for sharing and drawing attention on mistakes which students often make.