Monthly Archives: November 2009

Test stress and life purpose

SunflowerHave you ever wondered what the purpose of your life is?

Common answers are “success,” “happiness” or “satisfaction.”

While these are all worthwhile goals, here’s what I have come to believe: the purpose of your life is to face every challenge, every test, as a chance for you to become the person you are meant to be.

Life is a test for you to become your highest self.

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Test stress tools for life

While I was writing my book, there was a knock on my door. It was Joe Rizzo, an older man who came to fix our chimney.

He asked me what I do for a living, and I told him simply that I coach people who take tests. He shook his head. “Life is hard,” he said, pointing his finger and jabbing it into the air. “Hard. You have to work for everything. You know what the problem is today? Everyone wants his tummy rubbed. They want things done for them. Whatever you get in life, you have to work hard for. Life is a test.”

He’s right. Life is a test…

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4th Grader benefits from test prep book

Agnes, 4th grader, uses The Workbook!

Agnes, 4th grader, uses The Workbook!

At our Chinese-American Thanksgiving feast, our cousins Tommy and Daisy told us about their fourth-grader Agnes, and how she’s using THE WORKBOOK FOR TEST SUCCESS. “She’s going through the checklists and thinking about herself and checking off things,” Tommy told us.   While the book is written for high school and college students, knowing that a younger child finds it relevant is great news. Many parents of young kids are buying the book because they (the parents) want to know how to help prepare their children for all the pressures of test-taking and especially to help reduce test-taking anxiety.  If the book can help teach effective study skills also to a 4th grader, we’re delighted!

As a matter of fact, I wrote a chapter especially for parents. so this is not a test prep book only for students. I want parents to have the help they need to guide their kids through the treacherous terrain of test taking.

Let us know your stories about younger kids and test-taking anxiety, and how you teach them effective study skills.

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Test prep book: effective study skills!

An interested reader: high school sophomore

An interested reader: high school sophomore

On Sunday there was a book signing at Barnes & Noble in San Bruno, California

It was so interesting to see who came up to the table to ask about the book and question me about their own issues regarding test taking.

Students:  a number of high school students were curious about the book. Their issues? Getting nervous during tests. Procrastination while they’re supposed to be studying. Losing confidence when they have a difficult question. The test prep books on the market don’t adequately handle these issues. Yet, when mastered as effective study skills they can make the difference between a high and low test score.

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It's not just about content: it's about you!

When people come to me for performance coaching, my first thought is:  What does this person need to perform at his or her best?

Of course they have to learn the subject matter—I never make light of that—but through my experience working with a wide range of test takers for all kinds of tests, i can say with conviction that is only part of the picture.

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Reducing test stress: make the model your own

Charles make the model his own

Charles make the model his own

Want the best way to reduce your test anxiety?  Personalize the training model I present in the book.

I gave a talk at Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Dentistry, last week and one of the 3rd year students, Charles Nguyen, took the 3 legged stool and ran with it.

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Book talk and signing! Barnes & Noble

Come to Barnes & Noble, San Bruno

Come to Barnes & Noble, San Bruno

Please come to the book reading and signing at Barnes & Noble, San Bruno. Tomorrow, Sunday, 11/22.  It starts at 2 PM and will go till 4.

The book reading itself will begin at 2:30.  Hope to see you there!

Information and directions? Click on this link…

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2208

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Test prep: you vs test stress

I hear this from clients and workshop participants over and over, “I know the material.”  Worse than that, some say, “So-and-so skips class, takes my notes and yet gets better test results. It’s so unfair!”

Frustrating, to be sure, but as far as tests go, knowing and performing are not the same thing.

Knowing refers to the comprehension of content.  Performing refers to what you do with what you know.

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Test prep: stress and performance

Having a basic understanding of the relationship between stress and performance is vital to improving your test performance.

One of the most thoroughly researched phenomena in the field of psychology. A hundred years ago two psychologists were the first to study it and produced the Yerkes-Dodson Curve, which looks like this:

YDCurve2

The Yerkes Dodson Curve. Think of "arousal" as "stress."

as you can see…

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Test prep tip: it's about you

What has your test prep experience got to do with your test performance?   The key is, test prep is as much about you as about the content.

The reason for this is simple: stress affects performance.

This is well known in many fields, especially in sports.

Athletes need a certain amount of stress to charge them up so they can perform at their best. But if the stress crosses a certain line—either too much stress or too little—it starts hurting their ability to do well.

This concept is known as the “zone of optimal functioning.”

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