One thing many students can understand is the mental preparation that goes into taking a test. While some students do fall short of preparing to do well on a test, there are few who excel when it comes to the preparation leading up to test-taking.
Four students from Lafayette were interviewed by Channel 5 for the achievement of a perfect score on the ACT . Among these students is senior Elvis Wei, one of four students to score a perfect 36 on their ACT here are his suggestions:
Q: How do you mentally prepare for a test?
A: My biggest mental problems with tests usually come from me being too nervous or intimidated because a test might be very important or difficult. The best way I’ve been able to overcome this is to take practice tests or study the content enough so that I am confident enough that I will do well, which tends to eliminate my testing anxiety.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how did you prepare for that?
A: I’d say my biggest challenges so far have been things that I didn’t really get to prepare for. One example would be ALARP, a class which was very hard for me because I always had a lot of anxiety issues when doing any sort of public speaking. I couldn’t really prepare for the class and that’s definitely what made it so hard, but I guess that’s a good thing because I actually ended up learning a lot which was kind of the point of taking classes in general when you think about it.
Q: When was a time that something went wrong or unexpected in your event and you had to improvise do you think you were able to bounce back due to the preparation beforehand?
A: Last summer I was taking part in the STARS summer research program and I was assigned to some crazy chemistry lab that used one big, expensive machine that did all of the lab work. I had to do some experiments and collect data like basically every research ever, but early into the program, part of the machine was malfunctioning and nobody could figure out why. We ended up spending the entire summer fixing the machine, but that meant I had no data for my research paper. This was something I was completely unprepared for because nobody expected things to go this wrong, but also because I had no clue what I was doing throughout the entire summer. What I did was instead of collecting data, I just descriptively explained our entire process of fixing our big machine, and turns out that worked because the judges somehow liked my research paper enough to give it an award.
Q: Has there been a time where you wish you had prepared more or a moment when you realized that you couldn’t just wing it?
A: I remember the first time this realization of not being able to wing it came in sixth grade during the MCTM math competition, which happens annually. For the past two years of the competition, I would study hard each year and I would win awards and be all happy like that. However, in sixth grade, I decided in my infinite wisdom that I didn’t need to prepare for some reason (I was lazy) and when the test came around, I had no clue what I was doing. It was really disheartening to watch all my friends walk up for awards while I sat in my seat pretending that I mattered.
Q: How much of an effect do you think preparing mentally has on your performance?
A: I think being in a mentally comfortable state when I do things is a requirement for me being successful at anything. I feel like there is a very direct correlation between how nervous or anxious I am and how awful I perform; whenever I’m nervous for a speech, test, or competition, my mind seems to go into deep freeze and I’m unable to do anything slightly productive.
Q: If you were to just jump in with no mental preparation at all, how do you think it would go?
A: Really garbage, and I know from experience. If I’m not mentally prepared for a task, that also means I’ll most likely fail at it because I’ll just freeze up.
Q: Is there anyone who helps in your mental preparation or inspires you to do your best?
A: I feel like just talking to people about my mental worries can go a long way in relieving my mental stress. Like when I figured out that everyone on the face of the Earth was ready to fail the next (and every) AP Bio test, it made taking AP Bio tests a lot easier because I knew I wasn’t alone, and that it was OK that I didn’t feel totally ready.