Three Simple Questions To Ask Yourself To See If You Were Tricked
You’ve been set up to fail standardized tests since grade school. You have been trained to consistently apply memorization when standardized tests favor reasoning skills. As a result, the typical methods of studying using recall memory does not work for the NPTE and often sets you up for a history of chronic failure. You then tell yourself, “I don’t have the knowledge to do well, everyone else is smarter than me.” And I’m here to reassure you, that is far from the truth. You graduated from an academically challenging, doctorate level physical therapy program. Therefore, your knowledge is far from the problem and you are more than capable and smart enough to pass this exam. The only problem is that you’re addressing the wrong problem that is causing you to fail on this exam. It may, in fact, be other factors contributing to your failed scores; ineffective time management with pacing being one of the biggest culprits. Without knowing this, you begin to study feverishly; increasing the number of study hours each time. You then take practice exams with inconsistent scores and tell yourself, “I just need to study a little harder.” All the while, these feeble attempts to solidify your knowledge and raise your score are only setting you up to become the victim of a failure cascade. With each exam, you accumulate a cascade of new problems that add to the pacing issue you weren’t aware you had to begin with. Pacing and knowledge expand to include increased anxiety, lower confidence, a negative mindset, distraction and your brain fuel running on fumes.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, there are 3 questions I would like you to answer to see if you’ve been tricked in school to fail standardized exams.
1. Do you have anxiety before or during the exam that distracts you?
The thing with anxiety is that it stunts high cognitive functions, which disable your ability to think critically and clinically. Anxiety also triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, which responds to fear. This “fight or flight” response prepares your body to face it’s fear or flee from it.
Therefore, to overcome your anxiety, you must face your fear, not flee from it. So, when you take your practice exams, put yourself in a situation that mimics the environment of the actual test day. The time of day, setting, physical and mental conditions must all be the same each time. This way, you can develop strategies to address any distractions, anxiety and mental fatigue that become hindrances to your confidence and mental clarity.
2. Second, have you studied for months on end and feel that you’re learning the same stuff over and over?
If so, this is a positive sign that you are learning and retaining the information and that lack of knowledge isn’t your problem. Take a step back and be diagnostic about where your actual weaknesses are. Is it mental endurance? Make a note of when your mental fuel begins to run low. Is it confidence? Be aware of your mindset. If you think you don’t have the knowledge and aren’t smart enough, it becomes a self-fulling prophecy.
So, eliminate negative thoughts and people before, during and after your exam. Listen to motivational podcasts. Or, even arrange to receive a reward you can’t resist after you take the exam. Such as a vacation or a gift. Is it your pacing? Timing is everything. You’re setting yourself up for failure by wasting time on a question that you don’t know the answer to. So, go for the low hanging fruit first. If you come across a question you don’t know the answer to, flag it and answer the questions that are easier for you.
3. When you get your practice exam results are you disappointed by incorrect answers that you knew the correct answer to?
You beat yourself up because you made simple mistakes that caused your score to be lower than it should have been. If this is you, your application skills or pacing may be an issue, or you could be mentally burnt out and didn’t read the questions correctly. Again, none of these reasons pertain to your knowledge.
If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, then we are one step closer to addressing the root cause of your inconsistent and failing scores. You are smart, brilliant and capable of passing the NPTE. With new strategies and a positive mindset, I can help you achieve a cascade of success when taking standardized tests. So, please reach out for me to help you address these issues so we can take you to the next level of dominating the NPTE!