9 Tips for GRE Test Day

It should come as no surprise that scoring your best on the GRE requires strong verbal and math skills. However, you also need to optimize the conditions needed to score your best.

So, here are some things to consider for the big day.

1.      Get enough sleep before the test. This one seems pretty obvious, but getting a good sleep does not mean jumping into bed and hoping for the best. A deep, restful sleep before test day is too important to leave to chance. So, do whatever it takes to maximize the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. If that means refraining from caffeine all day, doing mental imagery exercises, or sleeping with earplugs and an eye mask, then make it so. If it means booking a hotel closer to the test center so that you can get away from the kids and/or spouse, do that.

 

2.      Eat a good breakfast an hour before the test. Studies show that doing so will sharpen your cognitive skills and increase your stamina.

 

3.      Dress in layers. Keep in mind that the temperature of the test center room may be much warmer or colder than you like. Also, your comfort is of utmost importance. So, save your suit and tie for another day.

 

4.      Scope out the facilities before the test. Remember, the entire testing process can last up to 4 hours, and during this period you’re allowed only one 10-minute break. So, you certainly don’t want to spend any of those precious minutes trying to locate the restrooms and water fountains.

 

5.      Arrive early. Very early. You certainly don’t want to begin the day anxiously racing to the test center. Give yourself a big buffer to account for any delays such as traffic and vehicle breakdowns.

 

6.      Have strategies for time management and stress reduction. Well before test day, be sure to identify techniques that will help you remain calm and focused during the test. The techniques that work best for you may be different from what works best for other people. So, be sure to find the techniques that work best for you and practice them . . . a lot! The same goes for time management strategies.

 

7.      Use the tutorial time wisely. The GRE begins with a tutorial. If you’ve practiced with mock tests, you need not pay attention to the information on the screen. Instead, use this time to calm your nerves, clear your head and remind yourself of the relaxation techniques and time management strategies that you’ll employ during the test.

 

8.      If the testing conditions are less than perfect, say something. Is it quiet enough for you? Does the mouse on your computer function well? Is your chair adjusted properly? Are there any distractions? If there’s some way that the test-center personnel can make your test experience better, ask them. And do so before the test begins.

 

9.      Breathe. . . . deeply. This not only keeps a healthy supply of oxygen flowing to your brain but also reduces your anxiety.  

 

These simple, common sense tips will help you maximize your performance on test day.

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