I’ve been thinking about my inner child lately, and by extension, yours. This was prompted by a post that circulated on Facebook last week. The sentiment expressed that ‘you are more than your test score,’ written in earnest, and so beautifully, to a group of students, much younger than yourselves, and reiterated how and why I’m in the business of education, as CEO of a holistic/mindful test preparation company. And it compelled me to remind our students, and other test takers like yourself, that you’re more than the multi-digit score, but to get that best score, to choose a process of study and test taking where you feel confident, focused and diligent on your task; that of studying for your test. It’s a combined/integrated state like this that promotes an optimal state for acquiring and processing knowledge and skills. Yes. I am encouraging you to choose. Great scores and better performance are the symptoms and results of being in this mindset…as is better overall health. When you feel psychologically healthy, and have the kind of spaciousness of being in ‘the zone’, your best score has the possibility of becoming more of a reality. Just stay calm. We know. This is easier said than done. One way to ‘get there’ is to remember that in addition to your committing to do your best, you realize that your test score only makes up one part of becoming a leader; which we esteem our folks to be. So imagine you’re that leader taking the test, not the person who ‘never takes tests well’; that inner child that may not have received the ideal support or championing. But you’re not that child any more…so remind it that you are, in fact, going to do your best. Also remember that succeeding on your test is an achievable, albeit fabricated, goal. Granted your success on it, or being less successful, has consequences of your chances of being admitted into your choice school. But the process through which you set out to gain success (or not) can be thought of as a mirror of who you are as a mogul, a top doctor, professor, lawyer, etc.. Do you take calculated risks, or are you a loose cannon? Time management in check, or are you more like ‘the Dude’ of The Big Lebowski (a different kind of leader in his own right, arguably)? Set out to achieve an optimal ‘state’ of study and performance, and you set the pathway of similar success when it’s not a dress rehearsal. Without further ado, here is the letter that inspired me:
Next week you will take your State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam for Math and reading. I know how hard you have worked, but there is something very important you must know: The STAAR test does not assess all of what makes each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way I do, and certainly not the way your families do.
They do not know that some of you speak two languages or that you love to sing or draw. They have not seen your natural talent for dancing. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them, that your laughter can brighten the darkest day, or that your face turns red when you feel shy.
They do not know that you participate in sports, wonder about the future, or sometimes you help with your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you are kind, trustworthy, and thoughtful….and everyday you try to be your very best.
The scores you will get from this test will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. There are many ways of being smart. You are smart! You are enough! You are the light that brightens my day! So while you are preparing for the test and in the midst of it all, remember that there is no way to ‘test’ all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU!
So I invite you to imagine that this is a letter to you prior to going in to take your GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, SAT, SSAT, ACT, USMLE, DAT, NBDE…etc!. You aren’t the sum of your quant, integrated reasoning, reading compression, or verbal scores (etc.). Admissions folks know it. And we do too. But how can you draw from these other strengths and harness the additional business ju-ju to manifest your best score? How do you think it would make a difference for you to include this multi-faceted get-in-the-zone approach?
Achieving this optimal state is quick and easy. And I’ll continue to contribute information about it here. If you need more advice on more ways to reach an optimal mental state for taking high stakes tests, enquire here or email/call me directly. As one of the only companies to incorporate a variety of mindful/holistic tools in students’ schedules, as needed, when preparing for and taking tests, we are as to those used by a sports psychologist with high performance athletes.
And we are committed to your success and helping you shine in and out of the testing center!