previous post described how excellent preparation can be key to achieving successful
test results, while also alleviating stress that can compromise performance.
You know that you know the material, but can you prove it at test time?
An issue with proper preparation during the school year is that it takes
time, something in short supply when so many other obligations are vying
for your calendar and attention. So, it makes perfect sense to sharpen
your preparation skills in the
summer, when your time is more flexible.
With time on your side, think seriously about your highest test-taking
stressors and the resources or skills needed to change course.
Do you lack confidence, or approach tests pessimistically?
If yes, getting in the proper mood can work wonders. After all, confidence
is as much a test-taking skill as knowing math equations and formulas.
Relaxing or meditating can help, but
how about some active inspiration? A video that promotes an empowered mindset and good posture is
a TED talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy - with 47 million views in 51 languages. In her talk, Amy emotionally
recounts experiences that taught her how to develop a personal “power
pose” that helped her
transform from powerless to powerful at critical times. Employing her two-minute technique before a stressful situation - like
an exam or a job interview - can be a game-changer for you.
Do you rely excessively on instant recall or memory - and then freeze up?
Though you may not have a photographic memory,
games, apps or face-to-face exercises can train you in powerful techniques to learn through association and reason instead of reaction. Accordingly, you can train your mind to logically connect one concept
to another rather than taking a transactional ”all or nothing”
approach. Online courses or apps like Lumosity and Braingle can be handy
and helpful. A list including those
resources can be found here. If you’re more old-school, connect with friends and family over
games like Gin Rummy, Chess or Backgammon that employ a think-ahead or
Do time limits make you tense?
With flexible and less stressful time in the summer,
practice imposing time limits that occur under classroom or college entrance
exam-taking conditions. Whether helped by family, friends or an online system, practice exams
will document your progress in getting more done in less time, say, 20
problems in 30 minutes, then 25 minutes or even 20. Success under pressure
is the ultimate test, and by imposing time constraints, you can get more
comfortable operating under this all-too-common limit.
Are you going it alone?
If your mind tends to wander or you’re short on self-discipline,
find an accountability partner to keep things in check. Hold each other to deadlines, and play the role
of enforcer so that you can both succeed when it matters.
By using the leisure time of summer wisely, you can employ a “practice
makes perfect” approach that will inspire confidence and improve
your results when you need it most.