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.

Subject matter is always changing. You might have a test on algebra, chemistry, law, history, medieval literature or some combination of them when finals come along. But there is one thing that doesn’t change, one constant at the
center of every test, no matter what the subject, no matter what the setting.

That constant is you, the person.

It might be a driving test or a diving test. Whatever the test is for, you are the one who is taking it. The question you have to ask yourself is: “What can I learn about myself that will help me perform better in any situation? How can I take control of this process?”

Unfortunately, neither the school system, nor the test prep books, nor the courses, address you as the test taker. They address only the object of study, not the subject. The common use of the word subject is the material being studied, but the truth is, the subject is you.

When I say, “the constant is you,” I mean that you are what is certain and continual in all of your test situations.

Certainty refers to something that stays the same in spite of outer conditions. Imagine what it would be like to have this certainty in yourself when you take a test, the firm faith in success under any circumstances. You might feel rushed, you might be tired, or you might be under extreme pressure to achieve a high score. You might break a pencil or lose your place. During an oral exam you might be answering questions facing people who look at you like you know nothing. Whatever the challenge, whatever the environment, the key to test success is to be able to be constant in yourself so you can perform at your best.

Here’s an exercise for you: before you take any test sit quietly and close your eyes. See yourself sitting in the center of a pool of white light. This light nourishes, clarifies and protects you. Everything you need is in this circle: your study materials, your books, your notes, and all the people who support you and all your spiritual supports.  See yourself going to the test and taking the test, always in this circle of light, always with everything you need in it. See yourself working through the test, item by item, answering every question adequately. You are always in a circle of light.  See yourself finishing the test and leaving the test site. Open your eyes.  Remember: the constant is you.

Send in your stories about challenging tests and test environments.

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