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Do These Five Things Before Your GMAT

Your GMAT is right around the corner. Maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s later this week, but either way it’s almost game time. And you’re looking for that edge, that little extra something you can do to separate yourself from your peers and put yourself in the best position to succeed on test day.

You’ve come to the right place. Here are five (5) last-minute GMAT tips that will give you that last little boost you need. A few may seem a bit unorthodox, but I assure you they work. Don’t believe me? Read this article, watch the video below, apply what I teach and then share your test-day experience in the “Comments” area at the bottom of this page. (I’ll promise not to say “I told you so!”).

So without further ado, here are your five last-minute GMAT strategies:

1. Know Thy Enemy

last minute gmat adviceIn The Art of War, Sun Tzu famously wrote: “If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled [in battle].” Perhaps it’s a stretch to call the GMAT your “enemy,” but the point is still valid. The better prepared you are for what awaits you on the GMAT “battlefield,” the better chances you’ll have for ultimate success. Scout out the route to your testing center beforehand and even drive there during rush hour to see how much time it will take. Take several full-length computer-adaptive GMAT simulator exams to see what the real thing will be like. And watch the GMAC’s “behind the scenes” video showing you exactly what the test-day experience will be like for you. As G.I. Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle.”

2. Dress for Success

gmat dress for successDress well, test well. You may have heard that expression before, but what does it mean? In short, the way you dress has a psychological impact (called “Enclothed Cognition”) on how you feel about yourself and ultimately on how you perform. One study at Northwestern University revealed that the symbolic meaning of the clothing you wear matters. In other words, rolling out of bed the morning of your GMAT and showing up in sweatpants and disheveled hair probably won’t do you any favors. For a business test like the GMAT designed to help you get into business school, I’d suggest business casual dress at a minimum — and a suit if you really want to rock it out!

3. Chill Out

have the right perspective on the gmat tipsHave a balanced perspective on what the GMAT means. Is it important? Sure. But if you blow it way out of proportion and put undue pressure on yourself, you’re likely to freeze up on test day. One thing I like to do before major events or decisions in my life it to make lists of the “best case” and “worst case” outcomes. Once I stare the “worst case” scenario in the eyes, I usually realize that I’d be able to live with it. In the case of the GMAT, what’s the absolute worst thing that will happen if you don’t get the score you want? Honestly? You can take it again. $250 bucks. Take our comprehensive online GMAT course and make sure you get a better score the next time. Not the end of the world. Having lived in a rural village in Madagascar for two years, I’ve seen starvation and disease first-hand. The GMAT isn’t so bad by comparison. It’s a privilege to be able to take the GMAT and hopefully move on to business school. Remember that.

4. Trust Your Preparation

last minute gmat tips and gmat advice test dayYou’ve put in the time, you’ve worked hundreds of practice problems, you’ve taken practice tests and attended webinars and visited help forums. Now trust that preparation. You’re not going to make any major improvements the night before the GMAT. In fact, it’s actually better for you if you take the night off. You need to give your brain rest and time to create the synapses that solidify the learning you’ve done over the previous days. It’s like a bodybuilder who actually makes substantial gains in muscle during his rest days, b/c that’s when his muscles have time to heal and repair and grow back stronger. Your brain works the same way. So what should you do the night before your GMAT? Go to a movie with your spouse. Play a game of cards. Read a mindless fiction novel. Whatever you do, don’t pull an all-nighter or take a final practice test or look at your flash cards all night. It won’t make much of a difference anyway. So, rest and relax and emotionally prepare for the test day ahead. Your brain will take care of the rest.

5. Be Happy!

being happy can help you boost your gmat scoreIn my article “The Craziest GMAT Tip that Really Works,” I cited a study of Japanese school kids that showed where students who thought about the happiest day of their lives right before taking a standardized test actually outperformed their peers. Crazy, right? Turns out, there’s a lot of truth to that. The field of positive psychology clearly reveals that with positive expectancy comes positive results. And to the extent that we can put our minds and emotions in the proper state through happiness-inducing activities, well, the results speak for themselves. So what does this mean for you on the GMAT? Play with your dog the morning of your test. Anonymously buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at Starbucks. Do some deep breathing exercises in your car before heading in to the testing center. All of these things will increase your happiness level right before the test, which will translate to a higher score on your GMAT.

Which of these tips resonates with you the most? Leave your answer in the “Comments” area below!