Taking the GRE: The Calm Before the Storm


According to forecasts, Hurricane GRE will be making landfall tomorrow.  My November resolutions held up fairly well.  I missed a couple practice tests, and I didn’t study my vocabulary quite as assiduously as I had hoped, but I still feel like my study strategies have prepared me pretty well — at the very least, they’ve given me confidence.

Since we’re only allowed to take the GRE once per calendar month, I picked a date near the end of November so that I can take it again in December if I have to.  Also, I decided to sign up for an afternoon test because I wanted to make sure I was fully awake and so that I could spend a few hours beforehand warming up; the downside is that I’ll probably be spending all day pacing around my house swimming in a sea of vocabulary words, trying to cup as much as I can in my hands.  The one thing that morning tests really have going for them is the fact that you don’t have time to sit around and stew beforehand.

Everyone copes with the looming specter of exams differently.  Back in college, I developed a little routine of mental gymnastics before tests to warm up my brain a bit.  I once read about this idea called “the 30/30 work cycle,” which means 30 minutes of completely focused work followed by 30 minutes of total relaxation.  I don’t know whether or not I believe it works for real work (though people swear by it), but I really like this idea for warming up before a test.  I do 30 minutes (or so) of focused practice and then I go watch TV or something.  Warm-up; TV; repeat.  This way, I get in a good amount of practice before the real thing, but I also ensure that I don’t burn out early by taking an appropriate amount of breaks.

Tonight I think I’ll quickly go through some of the Testmasters videos — probably writing, since that’s what I’ve practiced least — and then take the other free practice CAT.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a good amount of sleep.

What are some ways that you millions of faithful readers deal with the test-day stresses?  Test day rituals?  Other tips and ideas?

Feels like butterflies…

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