This is a 4 Blog Series on GRE Stress Management. In this first blog we will help you list what could be the various causes of stress while preparing for your GRE exam.There are many factors that commonly contribute to stress. Maybe you have a test coming up, or you are scared of failing one of your classes for example. Whether it is from the pressure of daily life or academic responsibilities, you need to identify the source of your stress so that you can better understand it. 

As an exercise, you can create a list of different things that you feel are contributing to your level of stress. 

  • Do you have any responsibilities unrelated to your school life that may be pressuring you in some way and distracting you from studying? (Ex. Work, paying rent, car repairs – some college students may even have to care for a family member or have their own family to worry about) 
  • Do you have enough time to study for the GRE or are you last minute and need to take the test as soon as possible? 
  • Are you taking the GRE because it is necessary for your graduate school application or are you taking it simply to put your best foot forward? 
  • Is there a section on the GRE that feel might be problematic right from the start? 

Asking these kinds of questions to yourself can help you establish a list of what may be your sources of stress. The examples below are common sources of stress for college students to inspire you to create your own: 

Academic sources of stress
  • You put pressure on yourself to obtain the highest score possible.
  • You are worrying that you may have to retake the test twice if your score isn’t adequate.
  • You are afraid that your parents or family members may be disappointed if your score isn’t what is expected.
  • You do not have the necessary support from teachers or tutors to study.
  • You have other homework and exams to prepare for that are not related to the GRE.
  • You are comparing yourself to friends who may have an easier time taking tests and studying. On the other hand, one of your friends may have failed the GRE, which is leading you to believe that you’ll end up in the same situation.
  • You are scared that you may not be able to get in the graduate program of your choice if you don’t obtain a high score and do not have a back-up plan.
  • You only have a few weeks left prior to your test date and don’t have enough time to cover all study materials.
  • You aren’t comfortable writing essays and the writing section of the GRE is scaring you.
Non-academic sources of stress
  • You haven’t received the financial aid you were hoping for this semester and are counting your pennies to pay for expenses.
  • Your boss has mentioned that he needs you for additional hours over the next few months.
  • Your car broke down and you need to take transit for a little while, which is doubling your commute to school and work.
  • Your parents are asking you to take care of your younger sibling while they go on vacation.
  • You are an international student and having issues with your visa, or legal status in the country.
  • Someone in your family may have fallen ill and not only you are concerned for his or her health, but you are left caring for that person and looking after him or her.
  • You may be having problems with your boyfriend or girlfriend, which could interfere with your daily life.

In some cases, you might end up realizing that your stress doesn’t come from your academic life, but from pressures in your own life that interfere with studying. Other students may realize that they are putting tremendous amounts of pressure on themselves to succeed and that they are their own source of stress. Whatever the case may be, knowing where your stress comes from in general is a great starting point in order to better understand your stress and apply the necessary stress management techniques for better results.

What are the other things that cause you stress and how identifying them have helped you stay on track with your GRE prep plan. Let us know in the comments below.

Next Blog – The Difference between Good and Bad Stress during GRE. We will help you look at various symptoms of stress and categorize them into good and bad stress. 

This Blog is an excerpt from Conquer the GRE: Stress Management & A Perfect Study Plan by Vibrant Publishers

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