The Dominate Test Prep Podcast

19. Preparing for Your Test — and Future — Amid COVID-19

March 23, 2020 Brett Ethridge / Dominate Test Prep
The Dominate Test Prep Podcast
19. Preparing for Your Test — and Future — Amid COVID-19
Show Notes Transcript

As with most industries, the standardized test and college/graduate admissions industries continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With exams being postponed, test centers closing, and admissions deadlines being pushed back, test takers face a new level of uncertainty as they're preparing for test day and thinking about their futures.

In this episode we address those challenges head-on, help you make sense of the current landscape, and empower you with practical next steps as you're preparing for your standardized test. Specifically, we lay out a game plan for test-takers who fall into each of these four categories:

  1. Category 1: Candidates who weren't scheduled to take their exam for a few months anyway
  2. Category 2: Candidates who have had their test date pushed back because of cancellations or test center closures
  3. Category 3: Candidates who are trying to decide whether to reschedule their test amid the uncertainty, even if their local test center is still open
  4. Category 4: Candidates who haven't yet begun studying and are wondering whether now is the right time to get started

Beyond helping you answer these important questions, we also look beyond test preparation and discuss ways that you can move past the fear and anxiety that so many people are dealing with and continue moving powerfully toward your goals, dreams, and career aspirations. "This too shall pass," as they say, and we want to make sure that you're equipped to be in the best position possible once the "new normal" arrives.


As referenced during the "Current Landscape" segment of this episode, here are some websites that you can consult for the latest on test center closures, exam reschedules, and more.

  1. GMAT test center closures, special procedures, and FAQs
  2. News about the March LSAT cancellation
  3. SAT Coronavirus updates
  4. ACT reschedule updates
  5. GRE testing postponements in the Americas
  6. News about the take-from-home option for the GRE
  7. Live updates on the COVID-19 impact on business schools

If there are other sites that you've found particularly helpful for staying informed, please pass them along and I'll add them to this list. Thank you!


“Courage is being scared to death... but saddling up anyway.” — John Wayne


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courage is being scared to death. But saddling up anyway, John Wayne. Hello, everyone. And welcome to the Dominate Test prep podcast. I am Bread Ethridge, founder of Dominate Test Prep and the host of this show. And I want to welcome you, obviously under very unique circumstances. It is hard to believe how much the world has changed just in the past couple weeks since we released our last episode. Obviously, I'm talking about the Corona virus pandemic and the outbreak of Cove it 19 and it has had ripple effects all over the world. Obviously in so many different ways, this podcast is all about test preparation and empowering you to get into college and graduate school in business school. And it is an industry that has obviously been impacted as well. And so I want to talk to you about things that you can and should be thinking about with respect to preparing for your standardized test, under the circumstances, the current uncertainty that I know you are facing. But even beyond that, I want to also touch on your future. What is your future hold? What can and should we be thinking about in terms of continuing to pursue your goals in your dreams and where your standardized test obviously fits into that. So we're going to talk about all of that. I want to start just by really extending my heartfelt well wishes to all of you listening from all over the world. I know have students of mine from some of the hardest hit areas have Italian students, students from Iran and China. And then that's not to single out those countries. Really. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are doing well. I hope you and your families are safe and healthy. You know, one of the things about what I do is yes, my courses are online and I interact with you online. But I feel like I get to know you and those of you listening to the podcast, right? I almost feel like we're a family. I hear from you guys. You provide feedback, we email, we we send direct messages. And so, you know, I've gotten to know a lot of you through my office hours and just interacting with you, and and I genuinely do hope you're doing well and I want to help you and I think that one way that I can help you through this medium of the podcast is to to talk about some of these important issues that you are facing with respect to your standardized test. And so I am going to talk about the current landscape a little bit. In fact, I'm going to start there, and then I'm going to get very specific about things that you can and should be doing to prepare for your standardized test even now, amid Cove in 19. And then I'm gonna finish by projecting into the future a little bit, hopefully encouraging you and empowering you with some tangible next steps. And so definitely stick around to the end for that as well. Now as a jumping off point. Here is an email that I recently received from a student, and it gets at some of the things that I want to talk about. It was from a student's name, Matea, and she said, I hope all is well, she said, I might need to postpone my exam, considering the present situation. How long is the course valid for so quick and easy answer for any of you guys listening? Who are my students to the last point. The answer is there's no expiration on your course. Don't worry about that. You will have access to your material for a CZ long as you need. But regarding the first point, she said, I might need to postpone my exam. I wrote back and I asked, Are you making that decision? Like, do you feel like you might need to postpone your exam? Or are you being told that you need to reschedule your exam? And she admitted that actually know the exam center where she was going to be taking her exam was still open. She was just thinking she was wanting to reschedule, and I'm going to talk about that as well. I'm gonna talk about anxiety and feeling like you might need to put things on hold, and and we're going to get to all of that. But let me start by addressing a little bit of the current landscape. Now here's my caveat, and the caveat is that it is absolutely an ever changing situation, right. So at the time of this recording, here are some of the things that I know. I'm trying to stay up on all of it as well for you guys. What I'm going to do, though, is I am going to post links in the show notes below to Web pages where you can get some of the information that I'm going to be talking about, because depending on when you're listening to this, some of what I'm about to say may not actually be true at that point. But that's okay. I'm gonna do the best I can. Here you can go find the information that you need when you need it. And if you're listening to this way in the future, I think that some of what I'm going to talk about towards the end especially, is really relevant for you, regardless of whether we're in a pandemic type situation or whether you're just preparing for your standardized test and thinking about the future and those types of things. So whenever you're listening to it, this part of it, it kind of take it with a grain of salt again. The caveat, But But I think her point is a good one now, In her case, her test center was not closed, But I know that's not the case everywhere so just several recent pieces of news that you may or may not be aware of, depending on which standardized test you are going to be taking If you are taking the l sat to get into law school, the March L sat has been canceled. They're saying that the April date is still up in the air. It has not been canceled yet. Obviously, you want to check back for that? If you're looking at the S A. T or a CT for college admissions for the S A. T, they've already canceled the next to test states. The march and make tests have been canceled. The A C T has been canceled that April a CT has been canceled and rescheduled to June 13th Right, So pay attention to that for the G, R E and the G. Matt, I know a lot of you listening are interested in those tests. Ah, lot of the test centers for the G, R E and G Matt are still open, but a lot of them are closed as well. And so there's a the website that I'm gonna post in the notes below with the current list of the different centers around the world for the G. Matt, which ones are open? Which ones are closed? I gotta correspondents recently, and I'll just read you this excerpt where they're saying, Hey, you know certain testing centers. Air still open Quote for testing centers that remain open Enhanced health and safety measures are in place, including enhanced cleaning procedures, hand sanitizer and wipes provided for candidates on so forth. So hopefully that makes you feel better. But back to Matias Point, maybe you're going to still feel like you're not comfortable going into the testing center. We'll talk about that later. But that's the situation with the G, R E and the G men. And, by the way, the G R E has at home testing options in some countries. And so again, check the link in the show notes, because you may be in a location where you will have the opportunity of actually tech taking the G R E from home. Pretty much every standardized test that I'm familiar with has waived rescheduling fees. So if you do decide to or have to obviously reschedule your exam, those fees air being waved. Ah, lot of colleges and graduate schools are actually pushing back their final application deadlines, understanding that a lot of people are going to have to reschedule their standardized tests and or just dealing with a whole lot of things. And so if you're still trying to apply Round three for business school, if you're still trying to hit kind of a late application deadlines for college, you still may be OK in terms of being able to apply. If you were wondering if you were going to be able to actually get in by this coming fall, there's actually still old good, great chance that that can happen for you. So a little bit of positive news there check the schools websites or call their admissions offices right? A lot of schools are kind of closed, and they've gone to online classes, but they're still staffing their offices. Admissions officers air still working. Their websites are still being updated. And so check to see if maybe the application deadlines for some of the schools that you're going to be applying to have been extended. And then here's an interesting note as well. This is something I came across with respect to Columbia Business School. But again, I do not think that this is unique just to Columbia Business School. And again, this is where opportunity comes in for you and we'll talk about this more in the last segment where we talk about the future. But Columbia release something basically saying, Hey, we plan to admit Maur candidates at the end of this application cycle. Then we normally do, knowing in anticipating that some of our admitted students may struggle for a bar for a variety of reasons to actually start when classes start up in August of 2020. So again, there, over accepting, take advantage of that. If you were on the fence, if you weren't sure if it was worth trying to hit a deadline and go ahead and apply for this fall, I would suggest that the answer is probably yes, not only because they're giving you more time, but because you're more likely to be admitted. Are with some of those logistical things out of the way. Let's go ahead and turn our attention to actually preparing for your standardized test in the current environment, and as you're listening to this, you fall into one of three broad categories of test takers. I'm gonna deal with each category in turn and give you some thoughts about how to prepare for your standardized test. Got given the parameters of that category, but I wanted to actually start by talking big picture about about leadership. Really? And I want to encourage you and congratulate you and start by just saying good for you for doing exactly what you are doing. I e going back to school, going to business school, going to graduate school, going to college. The reason that you are taking one of these standardized test in the first place is because you want to improve yourself. You want to go further your education so that you can improve your career so that you can go make a mark on the world. The world needs you now more than ever. Think where the where the highlights of what I do is getting to know the stories of my students, people going back to nursing school because they want to empower people's health. You think the world needs that right now? Of course, absolutely. Businessmen and women looking toa kind of disrupt the way business is being done to figure out howto how to grow the world economy. You think we need that right now? Absolutely. We need lawyers. We need We need microbiologists. We need people going into all of the different disciplines that I know you guys are pursuing because I talk with you guys every single day And so I just want to encourage you again. Keep doing what you're doing. Good for you. The world needs you now more than ever. But the world also needs you right now to be a role model. So I know this isn't really about test prep, but it's about who you are being right now in the midst of the uncertainty in the midst of this pandemic, people are looking at you people in your immediate sphere of influence. If you have family, if you have kids, they're looking to you in terms of how you are responding. Are you emotionally centered right now or are you giving into the hysteria? Are you giving it to the fear? Are you giving into the panic? Because what the world needs right now is leaders, as you think, kind of bringing this back to test preparation and admissions. One of the things that almost all colleges, graduate schools, business schools talk about when we interview admissions officers and and when they talk about what they're looking for and candidates that they are going to be accepting, they're looking for leaders. And so one of the things you try to do is model leadership and show ways that you've been leaders in in past extracurricular activities or groups that you've led and been a part of. And but think about how you are being a leader in your own life right now. And are you leading? Are you continuing toe lead in terms of your career goals in terms of driving your own life forward in this moment? Or are you giving up on your dreams? Are you pressing the pause button on your dreams? Right? People again are looking whether it's your kids, whether it's other people in your business, in your workplace, they need to look at you and see somebody who is emotionally centered, who is strong, who continues to be committed to your goals to your dreams. They need to see you doubling down and continuing to go in this environment, and I would just ask you with your mindset right now with your emotions. Are you playing offense? Where you playing defense and so many people are playing defense right now? But you did your opportunity to be leader to play offense and continuing to study for your standardized test is just a very simple way, too, By the way, continue to do what you were already doing, right? Don't press the panic button. It's not time for that. It's time to continue staying steady, being centered being that leader. And, yes, studying for your standardized test is a part of that continuing to pursue your goal of graduate school business, school, law, school. Even college is a big part of that as well, then. So let's talk about how you can prepare for your standardized test. So I talked about kind of three categories of people. Category number one would be people. And by the way, if I don't kind of list you now, you can listen anyway. Or you can fast forward a little bit. That's up to you and try to find the category that describes you. Maybe I'll just kind of list amount here really quickly. Category one would be people who weren't really planning on taking their G Matt or G R E or else sad or s a T until until May or June anyway, right? And that's just assuming things are back on line By May or June. I mean, who knows this thing could be pushed out to June or July, July or August. But is that really going to change anything for you again? We'll talk about that towards the end. But the point is, if you still had several months before you were scheduled or thinking about taking your exam anyway, we'll talk about that. That's Category one category two would be people who were actually pretty darn close to being ready to to take their test. And they have been put in a situation where they are having to postpone. They've had to reschedule. Their test center was closing. I mentioned earlier about how the L sat has been canceled for the next generation S a. T the a C T. Maybe through no choice of your own, you have no choice but to continue studying. Right? So what should you? D'oh Ah! And then Category three would be people like Matea who may be the exam hasn't been rescheduled for them yet, but they're wondering whether to stick with it, whether to go ahead and continue to finish their studying and go ahead and take it. Or should they press the pause button and worry about it? Once quarantines lifts and so forth, eso this kind of category 12 and three. I'm gonna do with Category one first, so it's kind of dive in. This is really just the business as usual situation. There's actually not a ton of tie on ton to talk about here because you have plenty of time anyway, right? So really, the discussion is, what should you be doing to prepare for your test anyway? Like in general. And the answer to that is found throughout other episodes on this podcast. Go back and listen to some of the earlier Posca podcast episodes. Go head over my YouTube channel Ton of free videos up there. Take my courses like that's the answer. If you're a Category one person, right To give you an idea, I'm gonna give you some statistics from the G Matt. But the statistics on the G, R E and L sat in some of the other standardized tests are pretty similar for students who score really well on the G Matt and on the G matter of really good score top scores, anything. 700 or higher. Studies show that they study, on average, about 80 to 100 hours. Okay, so let's kind of think about that. If you were gonna put in 10 to 15 hours per week of study time, I know someone who might be thinking that that's hardly anything I could do way more than that. Okay, great scale accordingly, right? Or I can't quite do that much. That's fine. It's kind of scale this. But if you're putting in 10 to 15 hours per week, you should be able to fully prepare for the G man about 2 to 3 months. And that's kind of what we're talking about that you likely have before you're gonna be able and you know, to take your exam anyway. So again, status quo. There's no reason you can't be fully prepared to take your standardized test, even if you're starting from scratch now, in May, June or July, And then if you get too May June or July and the situation still isn't fully resolved test centers are still closed. Things air, you know, still similar to the way they are today. Okay, now pay attention to category to hear, like my category two suggestions, right? At that point, you may have to delay or defer or reschedule your example. There's no reason to worry about that yet. Just continue. Business as usual for Category one Category two would be those of you who have had your test postponed canceled, and you find yourself with more time to study. And here here's the double edged sword because on the one hand, right, I've had some some students actually email me and say, Hey, the good news is I have more time to study. And on the one hand that, in theory is good, right, I I have more time to study. Maybe that will translate into a higher score on test day. But on the flip side, I know so many of you are just ready to be done with it, right? You thought you were closed. It was finally almost testing. You just want to be done studying. I can't take any more of this, so I totally get that as well and let's kind of talk about both sides, right? The extra time to study is good if you are doing the right things. And here's where Maur time is beneficial on the verbal section of most of the standardized test reading comprehension, for example, especially if English isn't your native language. But even if it is, and reading comprehension is one of those areas where you struggle, it gives you more time to read, read and read some more. Yes, their strategies that can help you improve reading comprehension. I certainly teach those in my courses, but at the end of the day, there's not a set of a great substitute for just reading more. If you want to get better at reading, read more, right, so this gives you an opportunity to continue to read your 15 minutes extra every single day. We've talked on this podcast about how hey, wake up every single morning, grab the New York Times science section. Read it for 15 minutes. Grab that big thick book with lots of big vocabulary. Set it on your bedside table. Continue to read 15 to 30 minutes every night before you go to bed, read, read read some or you have more time to do it. That should translate to better reading comprehension on the g r E. You guys were cramming vocabulary, learning lots of vocabulary That helps on a bunch of the other standardized tests as well. By the way, you now have more time to learn more words. Okay, so that is all good, right? And take advantage of the extra time that you have beyond Verbal. You do want to continuing to do a little something every single week. Let me give you an analogy that I think is important, though, and this is kind of a double edged sword piece of things. For those of you who have gotten yourself to that, that razor's edge of preparedness, you were ready or at least very close to ready. You've put in the work you've learned all the stuff you've completed your course. You've taken plenty of practice tests. Your practice test scores are kind of right on par with where you want to score on test day. You're feeling good, and all of a sudden the rug was just pulled out from under you. You know the analogy I like to use uses tapering for a race. If you have ever kind of watch swimming in the Olympics, or if you've ever been an athlete or a runner or you've ever prepared for a big race, you know there's this kind of crescendo that's building up of of your fitness, of your skills, of your practice of your game planning of like, all of those things. And you get yourself up to that like peek preparedness. And then oftentimes you actually scale back just a little bit in the days leading into it. I talk about that as well, right? You don't necessarily want to be cramming until midnight the night before your big test would do. Athletes. Do they taper right? They actually scale back their train just a little bit, so that on game day they are ready. Their body is primed and ready. You cannot stay, though, at that razor sharp edge indefinitely. Athletes talk about it all the time. There are seasons of your training. You can't train like it is game day tomorrow, every day for your for the entire year. You you just can't do it. Same thing mentally, right? So for some of you, if you now find yourself with another month to study another two months to study. You may need to scale back a little bit. In fact, I would suggest that you should scale back a little bit, Dial it back a little bit. And I know that sounds counter intuitive. It sounds like Wait a second. I have another month. I'm just gonna keep the foot on the gas. Okay? For some of you, you might need to do that because you are about to take an exam that you weren't fully prepared for. Okay, so it's almost like, Hey, you got a reprieve. More time. Good. I wasn't ready for my test next week. I have a few more weeks now. Beautiful. You're in a great situation. But for those of you who were just about ready, you actually need to scale it back, and then you can dial it up kind of leading back into your next test date. But you don't want to stop doing everything. So you still need to keep a certain level of preparedness, right? From back to my sports analogy, You can't just, like, sit on the couch and eat potato chips for a few weeks and say, OK, I'll get ready for my next race, you know, next month. Uh, no. You still have to maintain your fitness. You still have to go to practice every day. You just don't quite practice as hard. Does that make sense? You don't lift weights that are quite as heavy. Same thing with your test preparation. So do a little something every day. Make sure you continue tohave ah, block of practice problems. Keep working through your your official guide textbooks or whatever source of practice problems you have. Take a practice test every couple weeks, so you want to continue to work on your time management again. You want to keep a certain level of sharpness, but you don't have to stay at that razor's edge the whole time between now and your reschedule date. So get dial it back a little bit. Don't completely give up, continuing to do a little something every single week and then in a week or two, like a week or two before your rescheduled date. Now you ramp it back up. Now you really pounded hard. Now you dial it back in and you'll be ready to go for the next test. Okay, so that's category to category three. If you remember where people kind of in between people like Matea who Their exam wasn't officially rescheduled. And yet they're wondering, you're wondering, should you stick with it anyway? Should you go ahead and take your test tomorrow? Next week? Maybe you're worried about the sanitary conditions of the testing center. Or maybe you're just anxious and you're not sure you're in the right frame of mind. That is a real thing. But here's what I would say if you have already prepared. If your practice test scores were tracking like I talked about with category to people like you were at that razor sharpness, you were ready to go and you're testing Center is open tomorrow. Like do it, go for it, go get it done with Why not? Right? Don't make. And here's just general advice in this time. Don't make knee jerk reactions just because everybody else is. I know we see a lot of that. There's a lot of thoughtfulness out there. The world's trying to manage what's going on, but there are also a lot of knee jerk reactions. And just because everybody else is panicking and and worried. And all of these things. That doesn't mean you have to be remembered. What I talked about earlier, with leadership in being emotionally centered don't make knee jerk reactions just because everybody else is the experts, the people whose job it is to help advise people on. Hey, how long? How long should there be quarantines? How long should there be travel bans? How long should we, you know, postpone these events? They're only forecasting out you 15 to 30 days. A lot of people are just pushing things back until, like the second week of April. Now, might that continue to be pushed back and pushed back and pushed back? Yes, but current forecasts are about 30 days out. Right? So So why are you feeling like you need to put this thing on hold till the summer? You know, had students do that as well. I think I'm just gonna, like, go. You put press the pause button and revisit this thing in, like July. Okay, Maybe. I mean, it might end up being July anyway, but why are you making that decision? Does that make sense? And there's an important difference there. So don't you panic just because everybody else is make decisions when it's the time to make those decisions, but not before. And so if you are ready, go ahead and pull the trigger. Unless so, this is kind of the caveat there, and I mentioned this earlier, unless your anxiety level in your state of mind won't enable you to perform your best. And that is very rial. I talk a lot about the inner game of test preparation and how yes, you could know the exes and knows you could have studied your practice. Test scores were great, but if you are anxious right now, if your frame of mind isn't to show up confident on test day, knock this thing out of the park. I am still committed to business school, law, school, graduate school. Whatever it is, I am ready to rock and roll that will affect your performance on test day. There's no doubt about it. So what? What do you do? In that case, you have two choices. Listen to my next segment because I'm gonna talk about that. I want to talk a little bit more about thoughts on fear and the future and kind of what we can and should be thinking in this time. And maybe you can balance yourself a little bit. Come back to that centered place to deal with some of that anxiety and go ahead and get it done with. Or, if you can't postpone, take advantage of the free reschedule fees. Push it back a month or two until you're in a better frame of mind and go for it. And that's not That's not a judgmental thoughts, like there's no judgment here at all. If that's where you are, and that's what you need to do. Go for that right? Ultimately, my job isn't to empower you to get the highest score possible, and I am telling you that if you can't show up in the right frame of mind, you will not get your highest score possible. And so rescheduling may be appropriate appropriate for some of you listening to this. All right, so that's category three, and I said there were three categories, I guess really. There's a kind of Category four so like, here's a bonus category for you. That would be those of you who are listening to this and your You've really only just been thinking about going back to graduate school. You haven't really started to prepare. And maybe now you're not so sure you should. Or should you? Are you really Category one? Should you start preparing and now you have what? You're starting from scratch. And you have the 2 to 3 months I was talking about. And here's my encouragement to you to help answer that question. What has changed? Really? And I know that may sound like a weird question to ask, because I literally started the whole show talking about how much the world has changed this in the past few weeks. But I'm talking about your world, right? What has changed for you? Have your goals and dreams changed. You thought you wanted to become a nurse so that you could help people. Do you no longer want to help people? You thought you wanted to go back to law school so that you could become a lawyer so that you can fight injustice and discrimination in the world. That's not important to you anymore. You thought you wanted to go back to business school. That so that you can start your own company so that you could provide a better life for your family. That's not really something you want to do any more and you get the idea, right? It might be a good time to reconnect with your Why why is it that you thought you wanted to go back to school in the first place? And has that really changed? Now, the timing may have changed a little bit, right? Your ability to take the standardized test and the timing of taking that test actually get in may have changed a little bit. But have your dreams have your goals really changed? And the answer, I'm guessing is no. And so why wouldn't you use this opportunity to actually dive in and pursue it? What a great time You're home anyway. A lot of us under quarantine. Why not dive in? Why not use this opportunity this next couple of months or however long it may be to go ahead and knock out the test preparation piece scores air good for five years. In the case of the G r e, the G mad. A lot of ah lot of these tests have a long shelf life in terms of when you can then pull him out of your back pocket to use them to apply. I already talked about how a lot of schools are extending their deadlines. They are admitting more students because they know that they might need to admit those students if others can't. And by the way, there's an article I read, and I'm in full agreement with this. I've been talking with my colleagues about this for years. It was an article by the publisher of Poets and Quants, where he was predicting kind of the big Four things, the Big Four predictions that he sees for NBA's and business school really in the kind of wake of the Corona virus and the impact it's likely to have on the business school world. And one of his Big Four predictions is that the application declined that we have seen in recent years. I don't know if you're aware of it, but the applications to business schools have actually been going down in recent years, are going to reverse and go back up. That's one of his predictions. Why, Well, because it certainly expected that there will be a dip in the economy And what happens when the economy is down, when people are losing their jobs or uncertain about the economy uncertain about the job market, what do they do? They go back to school. So I'm not saying that you should jump on that bandwagon necessarily. But I am saying you certainly won't be alone. People are going to be going back and fleeing, so to speak, to the safety of school of business, school, graduate school, law school, not only to deal with everything that we're seeing in the world today, but just because it makes sense. And so now is actually a great time to dive in, to think about going back and starting to prepare to go back. It's a great time to do that as well. Okay, so there was your bonus category for hopefully you fit nicely into one of those four categories and that what I had to say helped you. If you're still unclear, if you're still not sure exactly what you should be doing or thinking about, Certainly my contact information is in the show. Notes. Reach out to me, happy to consult with you and help you figure out the best way to move forward depending on your situation Way wrap up. I want to switch gears just a little bit. Moved beyond specifically talking about test preparation and shared stuff. You thoughts about fear and anxiety and dealing with the uncertainty of our current situation, how to think about the future. And it is related. Certainly I talked about how if you are not in the right frame of mind to show up on test day, you will not perform your best. And one way to deal with that is certainly to think about how to manage your anxiety and control that anxiety. And so I just want to share a few thoughts with you. I'm not gonna get to in depth here, but I do want to encourage you. I do want to empower you kind of building on what I talked about in terms of being a leader in terms of staying emotionally centered not only for yourself, but for those around you who are looking to you for leadership in their lives and and the first piece of kind advice or the not even advice, just kind of a reminder about about life and how it works is that what we focus on grows and that's just truth. Absolutely. What we think about what we read, what we allow to enter our senses and filter into our brains has a huge impact on how how we are as a person or anxiety levels are. Confidence levels are hope levels. And so I want you to go back and think about your Why, What is going to fuel your Why? What is going to help you be better a month from now? Two months from now, three months from now. What an opportunity we have to skill up. What an opportunity we have toe. Add two things that are gonna move us forward in our lives. And it all starts with what we allow to enter our minds. If you are focused on the pandemic that will control you, that will control your anxiety levels. Now, I'm not suggesting that you stay ignorant that you pretend it's not happening. We'll talk about that here with my next point. I'm not saying to bury your head in the stands handstand by any means. In fact, I think you need to figure out how you can help in the situation. I certainly am thinking about within my sphere of expertise. How can I? How can I help? How can I contribute? What can I do to help people physically, mentally, emotionally, like what can I do? Absolutely want to do that. But what I'm talking about is you don't want a click Refresh on the news every single hour or every half hour or every five minutes. I mean, I know people who literally are just on their social media all day long. They're checking. You know how many people are getting sick? How many people are dying, what's happening in this country, what's happening in that country. And and I get it. We want to be aware of what's going on in the world, but but we don't need to do it every second of every day, right? If something major happens, you will hear about it. If something is affecting your life personally, you will know about it. Your spouse will tell you so like somebody will tell you. I'll tell you for me personally. I wake up every single day, and I maintain the exact same morning routine that I have always maintained. Why wouldn't I? Why would I change what has helped me get to where I am today, and what I know is going to help me to get where I want to in the future. And that involves a certain morning routine around physical exercise, around prayer and meditation around, centering myself around positive personal development. I always either in reading some sort of personal development book, listening to a podcast on the way to dropping my kids off from school. So I guess that has changed right there. They're home now. Has a lot of kids are in terms of, you know, online learning for the foreseeable future. So I don't have that driving time in the morning anymore. But I still put on my earphones and sit and listen to whatever podcast I'm listening to. I fill my mind with good things. I read my Bible. I like I do those things first thing, and then I still don't check the news. I then dive into the activities that are going to move the needle for me in my life. For me, with my business. What is going to help me get more good content out to you guys? What's gonna help me grow. My business was gonna have the ad value to my courses. Do I need to respond to some student e mails? Let me let me do my work. Let me move the needle a little bit. Oh, and then at noon, when I sit down and maybe have some lunch, Okay, Now we'll open up whatever new source I'm gonna use for the day, I'll spend five minutes, see if anything new different has happened, and then it gets turned off because I don't want to think about it. I don't want to meditate it on all day. I want to continue to focus on the things that are going to move me forward. Because again, what we focus on grows and by the way, that will have a natural extension to helping alleviate some of the anxiety and distraction that we talked about. If you're feeling like you're not in the right mental state, to be able to prepare effectively or to show up and do your best on test day, get a little balance back in your life. Yes. Continue to prepare for your exam, as I have talked about, but maybe with a little bit more balance. If you are going to scale back because of the Taper analogy, that's a little bit more time in your life for relationships, for your spiritual life. For some of your hobbies. Get back into your art to your poetry, like whatever things that have been neglected as you've been hyper focused on your standardized test. Now it's a good time to get back to a place of balance, to skill up and to heal to hell in all areas that will naturally help with your anxiety levels. And then when we get to the point of a new normal, when that comes, you are going to be in such a better place to go all in on all of those important areas of your life. Now is the time to make some of those adjustments, and that brings me to my point Number two. And I've already actually talked about it a little bit in terms of my own routine, and that is to stay steady with what is currently working for you and what has worked for you and again, that path that you were already on. We don't need knee knee jerk reactions, right? Don't add any more uncertainty during the chaos. Whatever plan you had already had in place coming into the past couple of weeks, why would you change it? Right? Keep working the plan. If the plan waas I am going to go back to school to be able to do X, y and Z. Why does that play? I need to change. If the plan was I am in the midst of preparing for the G Matt, the G r e the S A t the a C t. Because my next step, the logical next step for me to get where I want to get in my life is graduate school, business, school, law school. Keep working the plan like I talked about earlier, the timeline might shift just a little bit through no fault of your own or out of things that are out of your control. But continue to control the things that you can control. Right? Psychology 101 Let's talk about human response to chaos. Human response to chaos. And this is just like like I said, Psychology 101 is Freeze, Flee, fight, Right? Anytime something happens like we are dealing with the number one human reaction is to freeze, to say your stop. I don't like this. I don't like this. You deny it. It's not really happening or where it's not a big deal or it's not important, right? A lot of people responded to the current situation that way. Well, it's It's really no worse than the flu. It's really just like a bad cold, like I don't like this, so I'm gonna deny it. It's not important. It doesn't apply to me blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? So we have that freeze moment and then a transition to a flea moment. And most people right now are somewhere between like one, and to freeze and flee flee is like not only do I want to freeze, I don't like this. Maybe a little bit of not denial. Oh, but now we need to retreat. I need to retreat to safety. I need to retreat to perfect protecting me and my family. I need I need to seek security and comfort, right? Does that run towards safety Now? Some of us are having that imposed on us by the authorities. We are forced into quarantine situations into those types of situations, but but ultimately we kind of move from freeze to flee into kind of fight. At some point, we're going to say enough is enough. I'm in control of my own life. I need to do something, anything. That's where you see how you can help in your community. Can you provide some meals to people who need it? You start toe, you start to reach out to people and say, Hey, what can I do to help? I'm going. I'm going to venture out to the grocery store. Do you need anything? I maybe something even more proactive than that. But like I am in charge, my life will go on. My future is still within my control, not the Corona virus, like I need to do something anything. And my encouragement to you is that we need to be fighting people right goes back to my point on leadership. So if you are stuck between freeze and flee, now is the opportunity for us to just accelerate the process. Most people in your sphere of influence won't get to the fight phase from weeks months. Maybe even they might not get there ever on their own accord. It's not until the authorities lift everything and say the world's okay and they can stick their head up out of the out of the whatever that they're going to come back out. But you you have the opportunity of accelerating. You have the opportunity of just fast forward a little bit and just slip into the fight mode. Now we, as leaders, need to recognize that we have the ability to impact our own lives. We can control the things that we can control, right? Empower others, do what you can to prepare for the freedom that lies on the other side of this pandemic. And that is my final point. My final point is really something that my mother said to me when I was growing up all the time. If I was going through a hard time, if if I had my wisdom teeth out, she would say This too shall pass. Going through a tough time in life. This too shall pass. This too shall pass Friends. You know, it may not seem like it, especially if you're in the freeze or flee period of time. This too shall pass in my encouragement to you is to look at things from the perspective of June or July. Looking back, there will be a new normal. This isn't going to go on forever, whether the actions that the world community are taking work or not. At some point the sun is literally going to come out right in the hardest hit areas. It will become summertime, and it will be too hot for the virus to live, like the virus will literally burn out. At some point, it will this to shell passed right, And so that's why I want you to keep executing the plan. That's why you stay the course and so forth. Now is not the time to give up in your goals to give up on your dreams. The world has pressed the pause button. It has not pressed the stop button. It definitely has not pressed the delete button right? And so my encouragement to you is operate your life accordingly. I'll leave you with this thought. It's a quote by the famous American radio personality and author Earl Nightingale, who said, Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway. And I think we can substitute the word Corona virus four time. In other words, don't let the fear of the Corona virus right stand in the way of you continuing to move forward. The time will pass anyway. Like I said, the world is pressed the pause button. But at some point, the UNP ause button is going to be pressed. And when it does, where will you be? I believe in you. I believe that you are a leader. I believe that you are a world changer. The world needs you now more than ever. So I hope that is encouraging for you. I I know some of you needed to hear this. I hope what I had to say certainly helped you with respect to thinking about preparing for your standardized test during these times and and kind of what to do and in the face of some of the uncertainty. But beyond that, I just I just absolutely want the best for you. I want you to succeed at life more so than I want you to succeed on your standardized test, which I definitely want you to dominate. I want you to move powerfully towards the next chapter. And so whatever I can do to help you get there, I am here for you. Reach out to me. But hopefully just this reminder. Just these words of encouragement help you get there as well. So with that, hopefully the next time I talk with you is under better circumstances, right? They always say it's darkest right before the dawn. I don't know if we're right before the dawn. The dawn will be here at some point. I am certainly committed to continuing to bring you absolutely tangible. Actionable how twos and wonderful podcast shows and episodes to help you dominate your standardized test. That's what we are here for after all. So subscribe. If you haven't already said that you're alerted. As soon as we drop new episodes, go ahead and click like share with your friends. Do all of those things. We certainly appreciate your support. And as I mentioned previously, I send out my best energy, positive energy and prayers. I absolutely pray for all of you guys and will continue to do so during these challenging times knowing that they will get better. But for now, I am Bread Ethridge signing off. Take care from the Dominate Test prep podcast