This is the first in a series of five blog posts for the article, “The Rules of Game Day” by BrainStorm’s Chief Brainiac, Scott Doty.
In this series, you’ll learn test-taking tricks, tips, and find resources for further review.
How to STORM THE TEST
I. One Focus at a Time
Success on test day includes many, many factors. We will outline many of the logistically clever things to do to best ensure a high probability of success, but let’s begin with a broader, more overarching philosophical point that runs counter to popular understanding: the human mind cannot truly multitask. The brain is a sequential processor—if we wish it to accomplish 7 things, we must allow it first to focus on the initial task until that job has been performed; then we can push it towards the second task, etc. Unless we wish for a maelstrom of shoddy work, we cannot ask the brain to perform all seven tasks—or even two of these tasks!—at once. There is much literature on the subject in support of this truth.
Take, as an example, a much-maligned pastime: texting while driving. Are we really, truly able to drive a car and text a friend simultaneously—or, more probable, are we able to focus on driving, then briefly focus on texting (neglecting the road for a few seconds), and then return to driving? I hope we all agree intuitively—if not by experience—that the latter is true. This is why texting while driving is so dangerous! We really cannot do both with high quality at the same time.
This important truth—that the mind must focus on one thing at a time if it is to perform well—informs and edifies my main test-taking philosophy: test success relies on creating and then maintaining the most beneficial focal point for the mind. Remember, there can only be one!
~ONE focal point for your ONE mind at any ONE time~
Unfortunately, most people choose the wrong one. In fact, most people do not consciously “choose” one at all. Many people give conscious thought only to the academic material that will be present on the test; however, few give even a modicum of effort to emotional and psychological readiness, which are typically LARGER contributors to success than is academic knowledge. As such, we see intelligent, diligent students nettled, flummoxed, and finally undone by test day anxieties (and other focus miscues). Our goal here is to DESTROY the entrenched viewpoint that tests are a purely academic exercise and to PROPEL students into a more holistic, pragmatic, and effective study regimen that includes conscientious endeavor in non-academic fields. Beyond these, our ultimate goal is to create life opportunities for students by empowering them to STORM THE TEST!
The Rules of Game Day Part 2 is coming next month!
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