Test-taking has always been a thorn in the side of every student. If you get stressed and anxious when taking a test, you are not alone. In this UnimyPrep webinar you will learn some anxiety management techniques that can help you stay focused and composed during your GMAT or GRE test.   

To elaborate on these methods, we were joined by Bara Sapir, CEO and founder of City Test Prep, an education company that has pioneered the integration of holistic and mindful modalities into the test prep study process. Bara is a published author and professional artist. She lectures and conducts workshops for students, parents, educators, business people, and creative professionals seeking high-performance results at school, work, and in life. She shared proven techniques to help students master the "Inner Game”, in other words, the mindset, of test preparation and taking high-stakes tests.

Why do we feel anxiety?

Test anxiety is common and reasons may vary between fear of failure, previous “trigger memories” of not feeling confident in a subject, not enough prep time, or a history of not scoring to one’s potential. But even the most prepared students can feel anxiety and often it has nothing to do with what you know.

Bara says that conventional wisdom tells us that high test scores will inevitably follow if we study hard. But what if we are unmotivated to study or hampered by fear of failure? Or what happens when we do study but are plagued by feeling nervous and anxious, and we are not able to perform to our full potential? According to Bara, it's no surprise that you risk a subpar performance if you enter the test feeling anything but focused and calm. So how does one overcome anxiety and instead attain calmness and focus?

What do the GMAT and GRE really test?

As Bara points out in her presentation, tests don’t only measure what you know but also how well you take tests. It is a psychological process that either enables you to or prohibits you from performing to your full potential. And knowing how to stay composed and showcase that knowledge, acquired through rigorous prepping, will take some effort.

While the content itself is important, the GMAT and GRE will also test your soft skills. This is where anxiety-managing techniques can play a defining role in how well you perform on a test.

Have a personal success plan

An interesting strategy, that Bara highlights, is having a personal success plan. The most important parts of your preparation need to include:

  • A method of studying and an environment you thrive in: group/tutor/alone.
  • Studying according to your personality and preferred learning style: visual/oral/kinesthetic/reading/writing. Not sure of your learning style, find out here.
  • Identifying what content you need to master, so you can hone in on that area.
  • Time management: taking a reading speed test to make sure that’s not slowing you down. Need to find out your speed? Check it here.
  • A balanced lifestyle: getting enough sleep, a nutritious diet, exercising.
  • A positive mindset.

Strategies for anxiety relief during the test

Some of the most compelling parts of this webinar are the interactive exercises. Bara guides you through a few of the easiest and quickest anxiety management techniques and explains a few more strategies, proven to help students cope with stress, like:

  • Anchors and backward spin which are drawn from Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) also known as ‘Tapping’
  • A breathing technique influenced by Heart Math
  • Bilateral Stimulation
  • “Who’s your hero?” and visualizations
  • Growth Mindset


The symptoms of anxiety can be many – but they can all be roadblocks when it comes to performing well on your GMAT or GRE test. Adjusting your mindset can help you deal with stress not just on the day of the exam but during preparation as well. Watch the full webinar to gain more insights on these anxiety management strategies that will help you deal effectively with stress and make you alert and focused when it matters most.