Test Power: Prep The Final Week
Test Power: Prep The Final Week
By Monette Benoit
Copyright 2007 by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
If you are taking a NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, or state court reporting test this weekend, you are now in the fast lane to reach, to grasp forward onto your goals.
I have received so many emails on how to prep, I blocked time in my schedule today, this final week for many test takers, to gift each of you with information, which has successfully assisted people in 20 years I have worked with adults taking certification tests.
Thousands of students and court reporters have accomplished huge goals – one step at a time, one step, one step, sometimes only in one tiny step — then a wobble. The one step at a time awareness is where you find the greatest progress.
Each of you now has an opportunity to reach and to stretch, and I want to remind each of you to be gentle with yourself and to remain focused this final week. Many of you can see and taste this last lap.
Here’s some tips I have found to help many, many in your shoes this week.
This week make sure you are eating full meals. Eat meals and snack; focus on your blood sugar. Carbohydrates will give you long-term energy. Meals with pasta and rice are great for ensuring your body functions at peak performance. Proteins are geared for short-term energy. Balance the two, and you are in athletic training.
Drink water. You want to make sure you hydrate your body with water, perhaps green tea, Gatorade-type drinks. The soda may taste good, but soda dehydrates the body. Stress will contribute to depleting fluids from your body and warm temperatures also reduce your hydration. Drink water, fluids.
If you are taking a machine portion of the test, make sure your fingernails are at a level where you function at peak performance. Many students and reporters will have a manicure, and I quietly share that now is not the time to test those new acrylic tips. Go with what works best for you. You can reward yourself next week with a ‘new venture’.
As you move closer to the scheduled time, I want to remind you to notice your energy-awareness. You may become more sensitive at work and school, with your family and with yourself. Some call this ‘cranky’ — I prefer ‘sensitive’. This is normal. Once you are aware this is part of your preparation, you can acknowledge the awareness and let this test power prep work for you.
Make sure you are taking time out for you. Have you listened to your favorite CD? Is there a song or movie where you find inspiration? Have you remembered to laugh? When we are focused on a long-term goal, sometimes it is the little moments in our world that are the most effective.
Pack your equipment, and you, the night before the test. Gas the car. Make sure there are no road closures to the test site. I teach and advise you should be packed by mid-afternoon the day before. This will ensure the possibility of reducing the ‘oh, dang, where did I put …?’ moment.
Stretch and breathe. When we are stressed, we sit, shoulders hunched ‘up’ and breathe in shallow breaths. Breathe in, breathe out, slowly and regularly, in and out. Focus on regulating your breath. If you find your voice is higher than it normally is, you probably are shallow breathing.
The more oxygen your brain and body receives, the better you will function.
Ah, yes, sleep. The final two nights, I suggest taking a warm bath, shower, curling up with a loved one (human and/or pet) and being quiet. In your quiet moments, you will find great comfort.
Avoid people who are high maintenance – really. You want to be comforted and focused. If there are multiple pulls for your energy, your attention, you may want to remember you have earned the right to this peaceful, focused last week preparing for your goal.
The morning of your test, be careful on the high-test coffee-type drinks, colas. Caffeine will take you up in an energy burst and — will drop you down when the burst has bust.
I suggest each person should pack little packets of red grapes, non-salted peanuts, pretzels, nuts. There is an amazing abundance of energy to be found in red grapes and carb snacks.
As you enter the test premises, throw your shoulders back, chin up.
If this is a return walk into the premises, focus on ‘now’.
If this is your first virgin stroll, a click of your fingers or a moment in prayer may serve you ‘now’.
As you enter the room, if you find people in groups, avoid the chatting. You should specifically avoid anyone who is asking “What does this mean?” or “How do you write…?” This is your time.
You want to remain focused, flexible and focused on your test power prep awareness.
I wish each of you a blessed week. When you perform at your peak and focus on your success, you truly will remember why it is you chose this occupation.
And please know, we need you, too — really.
Monette Benoit, B. B.A.,
Certified Court Reporter, Certified Reporting Instructor, Certified Program Evaluator, Paralegal, Columnist
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test-Prep for the Court Reporting, CART/Captioning Industry
Blog: Monette’s Musings, Monette’s Musings
Court reporting veteran, author, instructor, publisher, public speaker, Monette Benoit can help you achieve your goals.
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