The Dominate Test Prep Podcast

15. Overcoming Test Anxiety, with Bara Sapir

January 28, 2020 Brett Ethridge / Dominate Test Prep
The Dominate Test Prep Podcast
15. Overcoming Test Anxiety, with Bara Sapir
Show Notes Transcript

Conventional wisdom tells us that if we study hard, high test scores will inevitably follow. But what if we are unmotivated to study or hampered by fear of failure? Or what happens if when we do study, we are plagued by feeling nervous and anxious, and we are not able to perform to our potential? It's no surprise that if you enter the test feeling anything but focused and calm, you risk a subpar performance. But how does one easily get there?  

We answer those questions -- and more -- in this episode of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast as we are joined by Bara Sapir, CEO/Founder of City Test Prep, who shares proven techniques to help students master the "Inner Game" of test preparation. 

Specifically, we discuss:

  • What test anxiety is, and how you can know if you have it;
  • Anxiety-management tips for the months, weeks, and days leading up to your exam;
  • The "backwards spin" technique to help you reverse anxiety if it presents itself during the exam itself;
  • Miscellaneous tools to help you combat anxiety including mindfulness, visualization, EFT, neuro-linguistic programming, and others;
  • How to simulate the test-day experience as a way to eliminate the unknown and reduce nervousness;
  • The anxiety-producing effects of unrealistic expectations, and what you can do to recalibrate them for a more growth-minded approach;
  • And more!

Learn how to employ the very same methods that sports psychologists use with high-performing athletes so that you show up on test day with a sense of calm and assuredness and turn a good score into a great score.


Here are the resources referenced during the show for those wishing to dive deeper into controlling their test anxiety:

  1. Bara's "Full Potential Audio - Universal Support" (Enter the coupon code A4ZMPA6S to save 20%)
  2. Bara's "MindFlow Speed Reading Workshop" (Enter the coupon code SXUE6FES to save $30)
  3. The Inner Game of Tennis, by Timothy Gallwey
  4. Dominate Test Prep's online preparation courses for the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, SAT, Executive Assessment, and others


"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" -- Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 12: 25-26)

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spk_0:   0:00
who have you by worrying can add a single hour to your life. Since you cannot do this very little thing, Why do you worry about the rest? Jesus of Nazareth. Hello, everyone. And welcome to Episode 15 of the Dominate Test Prep podcast. My name is Brett Ethridge. I'm your host, and I am joined today by a very special guest. Boris appear. I will introduce her here in a moment, but we're going to talk about test anxiety. And if you're listening to this, it's probably cause you're somewhat interested in that topic. And maybe you feel like you have test anxiety and maybe you feel like it's preventing you from doing your best, whether in your practice sessions, whether on Test Day. And so we're going to address all of that. And I think this issue is it's certainly among the if not the biggest question and concerns that my students in my perspective, students asked me about an email me about Logan. Nervous? I'm anxious. I'm terrible at standardized tests. How can I control that? How can I deal with that? How can I overcome my test anxiety? And so I figured you know what we need to address that here on the podcast. And who better to invite to talk about this topic? Then my friend and colleague Bara, so quickly say, hello, bar. And then I'll tell everybody a little bit more about you.

spk_0:   1:22
Everyone great to be here.

spk_1:   1:24
So bar and I met how it's probably four. Maybe going on five years ago. Now at an egg at Conference it. Jack is just a fancy acronym for a new organization, a professional organization of admissions consultants, of which she is a member. I am a member, and we met up in Philadelphia and and I think we hit it off there because we're sort

spk_0:   1:44

spk_1:   1:44
kindred spirits in the sense that both of us ah, lot of test prep up cos really only focus on the X is a nose right, the content knowledge that you need, maybe some test taking strategies, and they just focus on kind of how twos of actually answering questions and that certainly important. And I know I certainly cover that my courses I know borrow teaches all of that stuff with her students as well, but an element of doing well on your standardized test, regardless of what exam that is. I know some of you listening. You're gonna be taking the GM at the G r e s a t a c t l sat at the

spk_0:   2:19
end of

spk_1:   2:19
the day, when you show up on test, a part of doing your best goes be on those exes and those toe what we call and what we have talked about the inner game of test preparation. So kind of outer game would be that the X's and O's and how twos and all of that. But bar and I talk a lot about the inner game and how to bring your best self controlling your anxiety, making sure you have clarity of thought and focus on Test day, because that is important for translating to a high score as well. And so she and I have done some webinars about that in the past, but this is her first time on the podcast. I am delighted to have her borrow holds a master's degree in education and art history. She has hurt certifications in hypnosis, neural linguistic programming, very interesting, integrated life coaching and Ricky. I hope I pronounced that correctly. I'm not all that familiar with Ricky, but but all of Nok Perfect. And all of that lends itself to a big part of what she focuses on with her students and what she is going to be able to share with you guys today on the Dominate test prep podcast. So with all of that again, welcome Barra. And I guess I just kind of prompt you with maybe an open ended question. Kind of what your thoughts on on the inner game of test prep why it's so important. And kind of what role does the inner game of preparation play in students performing their best?

spk_0:   3:48
Sure. Thank you. Thanks for the great introduction. So a lot of what you said totally make sense. And I'm just gonna follow suit by saying tests don't only measure what you know. They measure how well you take tests. And that means if you go into a test feeling on focused or you've been procrastinating or you're like a deer in headlights or you're rushing ahead where you're going too slow. That's gonna affect everything that you've worked up to at that point in order to score your best. So when a student is dealing with the inner game, it's important to recognize well, what are the symptoms or what are the strategies that they have in place to make sure that they go in as their best self? How are they going to combat? Um, if they see a question that they haven't seen anything like it before, or if they see a question that they know always hurts them? Or what are they going to do if they always make assumptions that that get them into into trouble? So the inner game is training oneself very similarly to the way a top performing athlete would train themselves a musician. It's how to get into the zone because when we're in the zone, where were in that state of flow, were actually able to perform our very best, because then the world is no longer part of of what we're thinking about. We're not thinking about the laundry or food or how much we didn't study or how much we did study or feel arrogant like this test is like is inappropriate. Why do we have to do it or feeling overcome by the test? It's really just being in the moment and being willing to be our best self in that moment.

spk_1:   5:26
And so I know we're gonna talk about some some ways of doing that. Some strategies for staying focused in the flow, as you call it. Let's actually first kind of set the stage and may be defined some terms. Or at least talk about kind of broadly. What? What do we even mean? When we talk about test anxiety? How might somebody know they have test anxiety?

spk_0:   5:47
It's so interesting. So before we work with the student, we haven't we haven't intake. We asked them a lot of questions about anxiety, because sometimes people don't even realize they have anxiety. They just realized they go into a test and they're not performing the same way that they were performing on their diagnostics. So sometimes it doesn't necessarily even show up as an actual symptom that they can track. And then sometimes people have full blown anxiety where they're sweating or they've got stomach aches or they get sick the night before or they have some sort of emotional outbreak. So it really has many different ways of showing up physically, spiritually, um, emotionally and just in their productive ity. So what we try to do is isolate what symptoms are happening with the student, and then how are we going to deal with it? And these things can show up. You know, if someone felt anxiety before on a high stakes test, it's very likely going to show up again on another high stakes test unless they done something about it. And it's actually going thio increase over time. There was, um, there was a there studies that are done that show that the way that the mind configures anxiety is that initially, if you think about going into a test and you studied a lot for it and you feel really good if you score well, your mind that your mind wants you to continue to do well And so the next time you take a test, the mind is thinking, Oh, well, I had a little bit of except excitement, a little bit of anxiety. I'm just gonna up the ante because it worked so well last time. So our unconscious mind is actually doing what it thinks we want, which is to score really well and it does all the configurations so a student will go into a test and feel more anxiety than they did the last time they took a test, and this continues on and on and on until it's full blown. So unless the student actually does something about it, it's going to continue. It usually will continue Teoh be a problem. We've worked with students on their medical boards that have had anxiety all along, but they were able to compensate. We've also worked with students in the second grade who have anxiety and were able to nip it in the bug. So wherever you are in the journey is exactly where you are. And if you have anxiety, this is the exact time to start dealing with it.

spk_1:   8:07
And it sounds like you're talking about something that goes beyond just nervousness. I feel like we all probably get a little nervous. I mean, you called it a high stakes test, and we'll talk about that a little bit. I think sometimes students really kind of blow. It may be a little bit out of proportion. I think if we put undue focus or pressure on ourselves, that can exacerbate the the anxiety, but I think it's normal to feel a little bit of nervousness. You get up on test day and the big day is here and you've been studying for and you have the butterflies in your stomach and and I think that's normal. And a lot of times when you kind of start to answer question number one, the butterflies go away, and now you're just in the moment and you just perform. But I think some people are actually continue to be crippled by the anxiety that sits with them throughout the entire exam and, like you talked about, have trouble even focusing leading up to the exam because they're sort of overcome by that anxiety. And so, yeah, I think that's an important distinction, to be sure, eyes the inner game quantifiable in terms of the impact and the improvement somebody can expect by kind of focusing on this aspect of the preparation.

spk_0:   9:12
You know, every student is different, and it's gonna have a different effect on the inside is gonna have a different effect on students, and the the payoff in dealing with it is going to, you know, sometimes the payoff is that they do really well on the test, and another person's payoff is they actually feel really good taking a test. So when you talked about nervousness before, I would never encourage a student to feel nervous or to feel anxious before going in to take a test. I do. Nervousness is a totally natural feeling, but I want my students to go in feeling like all I need to do is show up. I've done all the work and I feel great. I'm so ready for this. It should be no surprise, no surprises when they go in that that they've done the best that they could do. And also, let's say a student hasn't prepared as much as they would like to go in with peace of mind that they did as best as they could under the circumstances and it is what it is, right? So it's really just going in with a sense of inner peace and moving forward from that place.

spk_1:   10:15
We follow up on that because that actually does highlight something. I talked to my students a lot. Would you agree that there is kind of an inverse relationship, then, between preparation and competency and anxiety that the more prepared you are, the better. You know, the underlying content, the less anxious you'll be. Is that true? And B isn't enough. Is it enough just to have fully prepared and know that you are prepared? Where are there other things that you also need to do to control your anxiety?

spk_0:   10:45
You know, all things being equal, it sounds really logical that if you prepare a lot, you're not going to be anxious. But that's just not true for some students that that is true. Some students could go in and they don't have any background issues with anxiety. So it's not. It's not issue. They go in, they've prepared. They feel really good about it, and they perform exactly how they expect to. For other students, they can prepare a huge amount, but they still go into the test. They know everything, but they're like a deer in headlights for a lot of students. They know they're being judged right. Ultimately, these tests are judge judgments and they feel it's just they're overwhelmed by it. And so there really isn't a relationship between how prepared a student is and what kind of anxiety or nervousness is going to show up. So what we tell students is that we really need to deal with for We deal with four aspects of test taking. We deal with content we do with the strategy. What does this have test really asking you to do and to really know? Because for some, it's really understanding Who's the test writer? What are they trying? Thio prove that you know the third is time management, which can also get under people's skin. And we deal with that with with lots of practice on the material and also teaching speed reading. And then the fourth thing is, is the optimal mindset and really understanding how a person ticks? If a student feels a little bit of nervousness or excitement, it is said that that actually keeps people awake a lot more like. That's one of the things that that, well, it's OK if you're a little nervous because then you'll go in and you'll be on your game. That's that's very true. But to get to the exact level of nervousness, slash excitement is incredibly difficult to achieve on your own. It's it's such a finite number or percentage that it's just better to go in and feel really good and psyched that you're taking the test.

spk_1:   12:46
So for somebody who falls into kind of a latter category that you're talking about, which sounds like that's the case for most people, that preparation alone is not enough. What can somebody do that? So maybe let's talk about it in a few different phases, Right? Maybe somebody right now has months to prepare, but they're having trouble even thinking about preparing their already nervous about the exam that's still two months away because, oh, my gosh, there's this huge thing hanging out there and I am anxious, nervous about it. Whatever word you want to use the other people who might be just a couple of days or weeks away from their exam and they need to really die elit in there. Other people who may be their exams like tomorrow and they're trying to figure out how to deal with their nervousness. And then we can also talk about kind of what to do, literally in the moment. If anxiety wells up while you're in the moment taking the exam. So So maybe let's kind of address the 1st 1 first. What can somebody be doing long term to deal with the anxiety issue

spk_0:   13:43
we like to think about this as a sort of ah, holistic model. If we get a student way ahead of time of them taking their exam, then we're really able to talk about all aspects of their life and how and how they're living. And it could be everything from, Well, how are you eating? Are you getting fresh air? Are you exercising? Are you able to spend time with friends and the things that really nourish you? So we look, we look at those pieces, but then also meditation because that's a more long term process. I mean, they say that even within a few days to two weeks, if you're doing 15 minutes of meditation a day, that that's gonna have a big impact. But if it's right before the test, I'm not going to do meditation with a student because they're not going to feel the benefits long term that will feel them long term. But they're not gonna feel it on the test the next day, right? So we want to look at what they actually need when it's a couple weeks away, or even the day before. We're implementing more of the holistic model of hypnosis and neural linguistic programming. Hypnosis is a way of getting into the unconscious mind and helping the unconscious mind actually advised the conscious mind to be feel and act in the way that the conscious mind is saying it wants to act. So we're actually putting someone in a state of trance and communicating with the unconscious mind with the permission of the person, of course, and helping them with behavior changes. Similarly, neural linguistic programming. The understanding of it is that we experience and we teach ourselves anxiety and nervousness and phobias. And so because we've taught ourselves these things, we can unteachable by understanding how the sense of that phobia has come to us. Like, Did we see, um, did we see a snake and then all of a sudden gets scared of snakes? Did we see someone fall into a pool? And we always have got scared of walking, walking near your pool? So then we re create positive experiences that they have an overlay them through a process in all different ways and create either a new movie or new sensory experience so that we replace the the negative unwanted experience with a wanted experience so those can happen literally. I would do them up to the day before an exam in. We worked with the G. Mack student once the weekend before an exam. I worked with them about five hours and their score went up 230 points. Unjust working with this holistic model so it could happen right before. But if you've got time, you can actually take inventory in your whole life and say, you know, how do I want to be? How do I want to be on the test? How do I want to be beyond the test? So I want to be, you know, getting takeout food and junk food all the time. Where do I actually want to eat So that I can feed my brain and feed my body? So we really look at we look at the whole picture. We don't give nutrition plans, but we might recommend, for example, that a student if they don't have time to cook in the time that they're studying there's lots of different service. Is that consent them really healthy food that they can actually get, um, pre premade meals that are healthy. And that's gonna have an impact not just on the test but on their life.

spk_1:   16:57
How we show up in any area of our life is generally how we show up in all areas of our life. And so getting everything in line will, by definition, help on the test preparation in the exam piece of things as well. So

spk_0:   17:10
yeah, I wouldn't say. You know, eating spinach is gonna dramatically increase. Maybe kale them, um, would dramatically increase your score. But it just involves a kind of intention and a kind of consciousness of wanting something for yourself that's up levelling from where you were before. And you also mentioned you know what happens when you're in the test itself and all of a sudden you're overwhelmed with the feeling of anxiety or dread or deer in headlights. What do you do in the moment? And there are techniques that we teach our students. One is called the backwards spin, and the idea is that when we actually feel that kind of strife for that kind of discomfort of seeing something, our body has a physiological response, and we feel that flow of energy moving up you might have. You might feel like going around in a circle and it goes all the way up to our head and like we just off a sudden, like feel this intensity, what we can actually track it. Pushing in the other direction and through is an exercise of pushing in the opposite direction, thinking of a really inappropriate time that we've had laughter, For example, throw that in the mix. Think of someone that we love throw that in the mix and continue to push the spiral in the opposite direction than we initially felt it. And then think about a time when you felt super comfortable. Super calm through that in the mix and put that back inside of you. And it could take literally 3 to 5 seconds to do all of this. And it just acts as a reset, a pattern interrupt from the direction that you were going in emotionally, physiologically and reset so that you can actually feel the way that you want to feel neutralizing,

spk_1:   18:49
said Yeah, that's a good good point you made because I'm sitting here listening to explain that I'm thinking you have to have the problem that causes the anxiety in the first place. sometimes is a sense that I don't have enough time. I know students freak out when a question pops up on a computer screen. In the case of a computer based task for the S A T, whatever it is, they see a question. They don't immediately know how to do it. Now their brain goes down the negative rabbit holes of open. Gosh, I'm gonna get it wrong If I get it wrong. I'm not going to get into grad school, etcetera, etcetera. So you're saying in that exact moment, you capture that you reverse spin it, and you can do that very, very quickly. So within about five seconds they're back in the flow and can now logically, emotionally in an emotionally balanced way. Analyze the question, decide whether they can solve it, make educated guesses, eliminate wrong answer choices. Do all of the actual kind of exes and oh's strategies for dealing with it, but getting their emotions in check right away.

spk_0:   19:43
Yeah, absolutely. Another thing that we teach students is is called E F T Emotional freedom technique, which combines meridians tapping with affirmations and reframing. And it's kind of bizarre, and it's really awkward and weird, but my Wall Street folks Lovett, um, people love it because you really are able to see things in different perspective in the news. You change perspective. It's an ah ha moment and combined with meridians, which are based on the Chinese acupressure and acupuncture point, it's your ableto have your whole body, the more in alignment and more and flow, and you don't necessarily want to do that during the test because it takes a bit longer. But if you can have that reframe and understand like, Oh, this is so interesting. I'm so curious. How do you do this question? Instead of being completely freaked out, you can think about it more in a growth mindset rather than in a fixed months like Owen be undefeated. I'm not gonna even do this, but really, really training yourself to think more in long along the lines of being curious and seeing something as a challenge and growing from that challenge and shifting perspective that you can do this because you've done so many things up to this point, and the more you train yourself to think in these new ways while you're studying, the more likely that's gonna carry on right when you're taking the test.

spk_1:   21:10
Does deep belly breathing work is that Is that a useful strategy?

spk_0:   21:16
I think it absolutely could work. I think that whenever we want, whenever we try to regulate our emotions, breathing is something that we do, Um, and it's super helpful. We do something called from heart math that's breathing from the heart on the way it's done is that you focus on a point on the wall in front of you and you breathe and imagine that your heart is actually breathing to that point. Not just that you're breathing through your nose and your mouth. You can do that, but who imagine your heart and immediately your whole body settles in and it feels really good. So I do think that it is a really wonderful way to regulate its not the big guns. It's not gonna be the big guns for most students, but it's something to have in your toolbox. And it's really all about amassing a toolbox ahead of time so that whatever happens, you know, you know that you've got something to deal with it.

spk_1:   22:11
Are there any other tools that student might wantto put in his or her tool belt along these lines,

spk_0:   22:16
about a 1,000,000 of them where we want to start. Yeah, I mean, the way that we recommend students, especially if they have time, is to explore these different modalities of meditation works. Amazing If hypnosis works. There's so many different kinds of of hypnosis and self hypnosis that can really get students to the next level. Um, there's biofeedback. There's, um there's yoga. There's exercise. There's aromatherapy, um, state dependent learning if you're always in, if you're always learning right after you take a run. If you're always studying after a run, well, you might want to take a run before you. You do the real test. If if you listen to music, even music is going to help you. Um, they say that,

spk_1:   23:05
but not like heavy metal, like make you want to pull your hair out of your head music? Or does anyone would Any music worker? We talk about listening to Bach and Beethoven.

spk_0:   23:13
It is all individual. If a student really feels calm, listening to heavy metal and punk, and that just regulates them because for whatever reason it does, then that's what they should use if a student wants to hear more math based music like Mozart than absolutely, they should listen to that. But whatever makes you happy and focused is going to be what you're gonna want to gravitate towards. Even they, the experts might say. Well, in many cases, this particular music. We're looking at this particular color or smelling this particular fragrance that that's gonna get you into the state. But what if what if someone you like, where someone you didn't like is wearing a fragrance? And then someone says, Well, this is actually common fragrance and you smell it, but you have an adverse response to it. It's really about seeing what works for the individual, although obviously like lavender is something that call mes people. As far smells on dhe, eucalyptus or tea trees, invigorating and oranges and Citrus is invigorating. Those air the general Those were the general thoughts, but it's really up to the person if they smell macaroni and cheese, and that makes them feel calm, then I haven't seen aromatherapy, macaroni and cheese, but I would say they should get the They should get their their Mac and cheese, huh?

spk_1:   24:31
Oh, so macaroni and cheese for breakfast the morning of your exam. You heard it here first.

spk_0:   24:37
We're not going to get into gluten and processed flour. However, I would say whatever works for the individual. You don't want to make any big changes the week before the test.

spk_1:   24:48
So let me. I have a few more topics that I think are worth discussing. But let me just stop here and play Devil's Advocate just for a moment. Or at least raise a question that I imagine a few people listening may have, because I'm picturing me of about 10 years ago listening to this exact conversation and just thinking and judging and saying This all sounds really weird, like, I don't know about all of this like, I've recently gotten into meditation and seeing the benefits and more holistic living, and I've always been into health and things like that. But the me of 10 years ago probably would have just said, I just need to study more. I just I'm just going to sit down, buckle down, study Maur. That's how I'm going to do better on the test like Suck it up, Brett, get over your anxiety. Let's go. So for somebody who might be listening to this and be thinking hypnosis. E f t like, what is this stuff I've never even heard of half of it. Neural linguistic programming don't even know what it is. What

spk_0:   25:46
would you

spk_1:   25:46
say to somebody like that about maybe dipping their toe in the water? Or how would you address some of those concerns?

spk_0:   25:53
On the one hand, mindfulness has become so mainstream that we don't actually need to explain it so much. So is visualization. Usually, if people are a little wary, I asked them if they know about sports psychology, because this is just sports psychology for test takers and we like and what we do is trainers and sports psychologist for high performing students. Essentially so it does have a lot of acronyms and those air really for for those of us in the field to talk about the different modalities, the way that I just fry. But to my students and I get into the weeds as much as they want me to is you got a symptom. Let's get rid of it and let's just try it. And some of it does seem a little strange and odd in normal, you know, normal conversation or normal interaction. But once they try it and they see that they have immediate results and they can go, for example, on a scale of 0 to 10 a feeling frustration and anger and they can if they're at a 10 which is the highest. And within five minutes they're at a two. They don't care. They don't care what it's called or what it is. They just see that they're getting the solution that they've been looking for. I don't hit that much resistance anymore. I've been doing this kind of work. We've been doing this kind of work since 2000 on DSO Um, we we get results, and it's not just because we're great, which we are. It's also because thes techniques have been working for decades, and really some of them have been working for centuries.

spk_1:   27:35
Yeah, and I really like the fact that you brought up the sports psychology analogy because that really resonates with me as an athlete. I remember hopefully going on about 15 years ago. Now, reading a book by Think Tim Galloway was the name all posted in the show, notes called the Inner game of tennis. It was exactly about this. It was about how, even if you may not be as physically gifted as another tennis player, but what can you still do? What can you do? Tow win? What can you do to still compete? How can you address that? Nerves, the anxiety, all of the things that may prevent you from doing your best on the tennis court. And so a lot of what they talked about in the book are similar things that I certainly talked with my students about Marsten worth concepts to what you're talking about here. So, yeah, absolute that that would certainly open me up to wanting to learn more about this stuff as well. Ah, couple more topics that I think I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on again. Some things that I've talked to my students about and and one is the idea of trying to recreate test day conditions during your practice. You know my thought is that the Maur familiar we can be with a situation. The less anxiety we have about that situation. So even doing kind of a walk through of the testing center, there are videos you can watch and just knowing exactly what you're in store for. Those types of things sometimes I think, can help students with the anxiety piece. Do you agree with that? And is there a way students can recreate as much as possible the test experience in their practice sessions? And would that be helpful for dealing with test anxiety?

spk_0:   29:12
Yes and yes. I definitely believe that a student who can replicate the diagnostic experience that's definitely helpful. They might actually feel anxious while they're doing their own diagnostic. Usually it's the test day and actually going to the test center that makes them anxious because they know this is it. It's a little bit different than just doing it at the comfort of the cafe or at their home. Um, but in recreating it in our mind, our mind has a difficult time. It just doesn't understand the difference between something imagined and something riel. So by having the data of walking into the test center or walking into the school, we're taking a test or wherever they're taking their their exam and actually going through that movie in their mind of what they need to do and how they feel and sitting down in front of the test and imagining a wave of relaxation moving through them, whether they're at a computer or picking up a pen or filling a scantron. But actually replaying that movie, it gives the mind an opportunity when it's in the rial time and the real test that they're going to follow the track that they've created in their brain, like the actual the including that you've done really, the programming that you've done to your mind, that you're going to feel the way that you've programmed yourself to feel. So it is a great tool, and it's something that we do with our with our students, and I highly recommend you don't need someone to do it with you. You know you can do it yourself. You just replay this movie and what it's about. I think going to the test center is important, you know, for another reason I think is more important is like, What's the timing to get to the test center? How long does it really take? What's the temperature in the test centre? It's really good to wear layers because you don't know if it's going to be a really hot day in the air conditioner is lasting. Or is it a really cold day? And you need to have a lot of layers on what? Whatever it is you want to know, what to expect. And the more information gives you that gives you that. That that ej

spk_1:   31:20
another point to consider. Do you think that unrealistic expectations play into and even exacerbate test anxiety? I feel like I constantly get e mails from people saying I have to get you at least a 700 on my G Matt. Or if I don't get a 32 on my a c T. I won't get a scholarship to such and such a school. And those types of expectations, I think, and put an undue, ah sense of anxiety around the experience on if so, what can students do about that?

spk_0:   31:53
I definitely think that we could be our own worst enemy, and I definitely big, but students go in, and as I said before, they're annoyed some of them. But they have to take these tests. They have a certain expectation of what school they have to go to an Ivy League school or they have to go to, um, a particular program, and they have it in their mind. And I think it's great to have goals, and I think being more realistic about how you're going to get to those goals. And we all know that people reach goals by doing the work to get there and honestly, doing this work doing this optimal my upset work for me called full potential work is super important. It's as important as studying because you need to have the ingredients of feeling grounded and feeling on your game to show up and do your best. And if a student is giving themselves pressure, it's probably not the first time that they've given themselves pressure. And what we always in part to our students is You know what you've done to do as as well as you're going to dio, and are you at peace with that? And if you're not at peace with that, like you even mention before the way we do, some things are you know it's the way that we do all things, and so it's really looking at that and seeing where do you want it? Where do you want to make some changes in your life. And where do you want to make some changes in how your perp pairing for this test? And you can do that a week before six months before however long before you actually have the test and really get to basics on who you are. For some schools, like for business school, it's leadership school and really look at yourself as a leader. What kind of leader do you want to be in? How are you going to be a leader of the G Matt, right? And for others in law school, it's like, Well, how are you gonna think through the kinds of mental games and configurations that this test is asking you to do? Which mimics what happens as a lawyer in law school when you're when you're trying a case right? And it's, ah, many of these tests, not all of them. But many of them are simulating a really life experience that has something to do with the profession. You're moving into the jury an S a T a C T. Not so much right. Like those air. There's air those air different because it's really a big umbrella and a big net for all students that are taking these tests. But when we're talking about the more specialized test, whether it's the M cat, er, the US Emily boards, it's really simulating something that the schools want to understand, how your mind works. And so if you can work with it like if you take that kind of, you know, martial arts without philosophy of like moving with the forest instead of against it, you're more likely to have a better experience. And when you have a better experience, you're gonna perform better. And no matter what your score is, being honest with yourself and realistic is gonna make you feel the best. I'm going in to take the test.

spk_1:   34:51
I like that. And what I hear you saying, even for something like the S a T a c T g r e. I view this, and what I'm hearing you say is it's an opportunity to get things in order now because figuring it out now will have positive benefits. Long term as well what, your in your career. So whether you think the test is testing things that are relevant to law school, medical school, your eventual career which that's a whole separate conversation. You just touched on. That proving, though, that you can perform under pressure that you can control your anxiety that you can do the preparation necessary that you can buckle down and study and learn new things and do what it takes to do well on the exam is essentially proving that you Then we'll also be able to do the same things in graduate school college ex cetera. Advent in your career beyond and so so really viewing it as an opportunity rather than a stumbling block or hurdle. And I think that subtle shift of of focus and how you're thinking about the exam itself can help deal with the anxiety piece as well.

spk_0:   35:54
Absolutely, always say the worst is over. It's never You're never gonna score lower, and you're never gonna feel worse than you did. And everything is just on the upswing. Now. Now is the time to make the changes that you're telling me that you want to make and let's let's get busy and do it.

spk_1:   36:10
So is a student done being worried or having anxiety about the test? The second they are done and fill in the last little bubble on their Scantron or click the final answer. Or do you have any thoughts or tips for students for kind of the post exam experience? With respect to anxiety,

spk_0:   36:29
I always asked students Thio unpack what their experience is and what they learned from it and what they you know for many for many tests, we recommend them planning on taking the test twice, at least so that unpacking and taking inventory and who they weren't what they need to improve is just, ah, great opportunity to just reflect on who they were and what they want to do for the next test. And then once they once they achieve their score, whether it's the first test, the second test, the third test, Um, it's really saying, OK, what did you learn from this whole experience of? What are you gonna take with you? You know what are what are these skills that you really have for life? You know, you might not remember everything about right triangles, but you should probably are going to remember how you felt, right. I think there's a say that says, you know, people don't remember what you say. They remember how you may have it make you feel. I don't think that testing is any different. You're not gonna remember the questions, but you will remember how you felt. I can't tell you how many times people say to me when they find out what we d'oh. I wish I knew you when I when I was taking a test and when I talked to parents of S A T students and it really is giving yourself a gift, it's it's giving you back yourself. And so when students rock that, then it's It's also a game changer because it's not just about widgets, and it's not just about X's and O's. It's about giving people not just the opportunity to get into the programs they want. We're need to for their careers, but giving them a sense of satisfaction that they really did. They crossed all their eyes, the cross other cheese and find out of their eyes and really wound up entering the test as as who they want to see themselves in the world.

spk_1:   38:15
I think that's a perfect place to end it. I think that resonates and is a message that's going to resonate with a lot of listeners. And for those listeners who heard just what you said and said, You know what? I want to connect with my sense of self. How can they do that? How can they connect with you? Where can they learn more? I know you referenced earlier your full potential audio. I think it's audio. Tell us more about that. I know you have a full potential program that may be able to assist people in any other resource. Is you would recommend for people who want, oh, doom or and unpack some of what you have talked about. Today

spk_0:   38:48
we have a full potential audio course, and that is a five plus our program that has 30 plus exercises and we have 10 titles. So we have a title for the S A T and a title for the G. Madden, a title for the M Cat. And so whatever testes student is taking, they can use one of our one of our audios. And if it's not a test that that, like a real estate exam or like a massage therapy exam, we also have a universal one that students can actually use. The universal testing that will go with with all of them. We also have a full potential book. Um, that's connected with the G Matt book. But our book, which is gonna be coming out it's now, um, it's gonna be coming out this year. And it's gonna be for any test, any student, whether it's computer or paper and it's going to have exercises. This is coming. It's a it's a rewrite from our Jima full potential manual. And this is gonna be just agnostic so anyone can use it. We're also offering discounts for those on. The third thing I recommend is that people are having issues with their speed. And if it's their speed on middle school test like the eye sees of the S S A T s or the um, S H s A T s or it's the G Madge Ariel said M cat or the S A T H. Any of these tests we have a speed reading workshop that's live online, and students increase their reading speed up to five times. If you're not reading 350 words a minute, orm or your score is going to be impacted. So in this in the program that's that's a live work shop. It's a five fortified our workshop and students increased like I said up to five times, and we're seeing that the average improvement is 13% on just reading questions. But it positively affects the entire test and the performance on the test. Because once you re faster without compromising comprehension, you're just able to move through things more quickly and do what the test is asking you to D'Oh! Which is to answer questions, which is what you're getting the score on. So we're offering discounts on all of these things for the folks that are listening to this podcast

spk_1:   40:56
and all. Put those links and details about all of that in the show notes below so you guys can check that out bar. I appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise with all of our listeners, and I have found the conversation incredibly interesting and enlightening and valuable. I could only imagine that the listeners are as well not only in terms of the big picture mindset, but I think you've introduced some things that students just haven't thought about before, and it just creates a more well rounded approach to the preparation. And ultimately, I'm confident we'll we'll need toe to better results on test date. Any final thoughts from you before we wrap up?

spk_0:   41:39
Well, I will say that my company of city test prep and so folks can find us online. And if anyone has questions to please, please reach me through through the address on the Web site or two, probably have the notes below. And I just wish everyone, you know, a great a really great time and take up the opportunity for what the teachers teach you. Um, to learn about yourself and to head onto your goals, meeting your goals and manifesting your dreams. So I wish everyone the best.

spk_1:   42:11
We'll leave it there. Thank you again, Bara Toe everybody else. Best of luck. And we will see you next time on the dominant test prep podcast. Take care of you.