How To Deal With GRE Anxiety

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Collegepond Counsellors (Jimeet Sanghavi)

Updated on Apr 29, 2021

Exams Know-how | 4 min read
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The GRE examination score 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 more than 50% students retake the exam. While a little stress can in fact be an instigator of an enhanced performance, the trouble is when it starts restricting one’s capability to study and consequently hampers his/her performance. While you can’t really totally eliminate the stress, you can sure bring it to a manageable level.

Worry Indicators:

  • Your mind is constantly gripped by fear of failure
  • Negative thoughts clouding you for no reason
  • Total blank out
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Nausea
  • 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 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.

 

Steps to Combat Anxiety Bouts

GRE anxiety 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 definitely will get a lot better.

  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, feeling of taking GRE will naturally start sinking into your system and you will gradually start feeling comfortable with the exam
  4. With consistent practice you start gaining certain level of mastery. Not only will your scores shoot up but also you will become confident as well
  5. A good institute will not only help you prepare appropriately and it will also help you 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” “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 that last-minute cramming up at the eleventh hour.
  9. You don’t need to master concepts but the way they are tested. You don’t need to beat Einstein to crack GRE, all you need to is to approach the question in 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 per cent higher than while you are anxious and apprehensive.
  12. The best way to conquer your fear is to know your stuff well. Even accomplished mind will get jittery if they are 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 breath, 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 test with you. This is one of the major reasons of anxiety due to peer pressure. GRE is percentile based examination and the %tile can keep fluctuating daily on 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 1pm, you must start solving sample test papers during this period.
  16. Taking the GRE is not a sprint but a full-fledged marathon. More the practice and training you have, better the chances of overcoming the anxiety and increasing the success rate.