How many times have you been summoned for jury duty?  How about jury duty on your birthday?

This year, that was my story.  But, serving was cool this year ... on the first day of Jury Appreciation Week.  Because I was the only birthday juror of 500+ summoned, I even won FREE Houston Astros tickets.

Some years ago during another jury summons, I was not selected but chose to stay to listen to a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case. I was shocked to hear the defendant's attorney claim that test anxiety as his client's reason for having failed the roadside sobriety test.

Test anxiety is a real challenge for many of us our entire lives.  I've seen one of my best Austin GMAT prep students suffer an anxiety attack on the first question of his live GMAT, dropping his score to a 530. Six months later, he retook my Veritas Prep GMAT in-person course in Austin, Texas, and score a 730 on his live GMAT.  So, fear cost him 200 points?  Yep.

What if studying verbal and quant in a group, cohort, or classroom environment can negate negative feelings related to test anxiety?  (Did you like the double negative?)

What if just eight one-on-one GMAT private tutoring sessions can eliminate fear and boost math scores?

I'm curious to hear your thoughts as a test taker on the implications of current neuroscience research like this peer-reviewed journal article:

Remediation of Childhood Math Anxiety and Associated Neural Circuits through Cognitive Tutoring

How much of the official live GMAT is knowledge, understanding, insight, and wisdom?

Have you seen the chess master movie "Magnus" and seen how anxiety nearly cost him the world title? Did you notice how he managed to recover, beating a thoroughly researched team who could predict his every move? I'd encourage you to watch the movie.

Have you seen on Netflix the documentary "Ladies First" about India's best female archery athlete?  Notice how a lack of proper support has prevented female athletes in every developing country from ever winning an Olympic Gold medal. You'll cry watching this film.

And, just a few weeks ago, an Indian wife of an accomplished oil and gas professional found MBAcademy on Yelp, and called. In the first minute of our conversation, she asked if I could explain what is wrong with her husband. I asked, "Excuse me?" thinking that I had misunderstood her question. She continued, "On every practice GMAT, he scores easily in the 700s.  But, on each live GMAT his score plummets to the high 600s."  My telemedicine diagnosis:  anxiety.

In summary, like life and work, standardized tests are less like checkers, and more like chess. There is a game behind the game. Strategy matters. Staying cool, calm, and collected matters. And, applied sports psychology (to which elite athletes subscribe) and supportive social networks may boost some students' exam scores far more than mastering verbal and quantitative subject matter.

How ready are you to lose the fear and strive for our capacity?