At some point in all our high school careers, it will come time to … take “the Test.” The Test can be anything, standardized or otherwise, but it’s important that we do well on it, no matter what. And to do this, it’s important to know just how to take the Test — because like one of those repeating dreams, the Test will come back to us again and again over time.
Even though the Test officially begins only once the proctor gives the signal to begin, the process of taking the Test really begins with preparation. Studying has to happen first, for sure, because if one wants to succeed on the Test, one has to know the material. But scholarly preparation aside, mental preparation is just as important.
The Test is critical, as we all know, and it’s only natural that it occupies a section of our mind in the weeks leading up to it. But we shouldn’t allow it to take up all of our thoughts — and above all, we shouldn’t let it stress us out completely. Stress is good in moderation, one of the few motivating factors that can pull us away from our technological distractions. But too much of it is just as bad — when we start losing sleep over the Test, things begin to go downhill.
So I’ve found that the day before the Test is critical for this reason. If we’re completely stressed out the day before, then that’ll carry over to the morning of and continue right up until we walk into that testing room. And soon enough we’ll be more concerned with worrying about how we’re going to do on the Test than with answering the questions themselves, which would actually raise our scores. So here are a few things to do, to get the nerves under control.
Recall that you are actually well prepared for the Test. All that work and studying you’ve put in certainly hasn’t been for nothing — think of all that you know, that you didn’t know before. Dismiss that nagging thought that you haven’t learned “enough” for certainly one can never say that they’ve learned “enough” — but be confident that you are perfectly capable of attaining a strong score with what you’ve already learned.
Along the same lines, recall that more often than not, you are doing better than you think you are. There might be a streak of a few questions that you don’t know the answer to — but don’t forget the numerous questions that you did know the answer to before that, and those that are still to come. Many a test I have walked out of feeling that it went terribly, but in the end, it all turned out fine.
Finally, remember that the Test is, when it comes down to it, just a piece of paper. The Test doesn’t control you; you can control the Test. From the moment you sit down at that desk or table, you are in control, and nothing can faze you. More often, it’ll turn out to be easier than you thought; but if it turns out to be harder, know that everyone else is taking the same test, and many others are feeling just the same way. And if you’ve prepared well, and your stress is under control, then you’ll have put forth your best effort, and there will be nothing further to worry about.