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Increasing from a 540 to a 710 on the GMAT with anxiety: Reddit GMAT success story


Scored 48Q/40V on third try. Used Target Test Prep and the Official Guide for practice, used meds, yoga, and therapy for anxiety.

Felt bad on the test but ended up doing better than expected.


from Reddit

Not thinking that I’m self important or whatever and writing a debrief but I wanted to just talk about what worked for me. I sat today and got a 710 48/40/5 which is not as high as some people on the sub but I’m happy about what I got and I’ll explain why. I’ll add the disclaimer that I’m not recommending anything (note one point in particular) , just saying what I did

First, I’ll start with the basics. I did target test prep for my main prep which I think was good for foundations. You’ll know how to do every problem. I also interspersed this with the OG. I did all the OG practice tests and was getting 740+.

I went in to the test super confident and I felt super confident throughout the test. Then I got 670 (all the breakdowns are in my post history). Was convinced it was a fluke because I had just done bad at data sufficiency and everything else was good. Just did more problems and got the same score two weeks later. I went way too fast. So I’m stuck. I needed to do something different. I did do the trial of Empower as well. The techniques were interesting but I already was doing “Test it”

I decided to approach this third time in a more ~cerebral~ way and here’s how.

  • Decided to actually address my anxiety: I always used to pump myself up for tests in school. As empowergmat informed me, this was the wrong thing to do. Rich does give some tricks like flirting with the proctor to get your confidence up but I wanted to actually make fundamental changes. I started doing yoga and I talked about staying calm with my therapist. I also started taking the anxiety meds he had prescribed a while ago, which, shocker, helped. NOTE IM NOT ADVOCATING YOU GO GET MEDS BUT IF YOU ARE PRESCRIBED MEDICINE TAKE IT.
  • semi-related but the other thing I changed was my mentality. I thought about why I was taking the GMAT and why I had the goal score I did (730+). I honestly didn’t know the answer other than I’d like an MBA within 5 years. I’m not an MBB or HSW or bust. I really don’t see myself quitting my job to go back to school. I was probably gonna do PT. I also had a 3.72 in a quant major at a well regarded business school so it wasn’t gmat or bust. This took the pressure off and I also felt more comfortable “triaging”.
  • I also switched to verbal first so I could read more intently.
  • finally, I said this was it. Not spending another dollar, not reading another bunuel explanation, not watching another gmat ninja video. Whatever happened, happened and I’d be at peace with it.

On my final attempt, I thought I was doing very poorly. The change in my studying was that i barely studied at all. Was more stretched for time and some of quant felt impossible but then I got the score. Still under my target but I’m happy with it

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