Certification – How to test
Once you’ve prepared, you will do well on the test… unless you do something stupid. Luckily, by this point, you will know that you know enough to pass. You can let the worry go and instead of trying to succeed, you can simply focus on not screwing up. It is much easier just not to screw up. So, let’s talk a bit on how to do that:
Dealing With Panic
If you panic, you’re likely to do stupid things like skip questions, forget directions and so forth. So, don’t panic.
Yeah, like that’s going to help.
If you find yourself panicking, take a break and count to 10, slowly. Then, write down on a spare piece of paper what you’re panicking about. Odds are that your brain is stuck in a loop, and by getting things down on paper, you can see the loop. Then, find where your thinking is illogical and cross that item out. Go through the loop and eliminate the stupid thoughts. This entire process will feel like it’s taking an hour. It’s likely taking less than five minutes, so don’t worry about the time lost.
If you were panicking, those five minutes wouldn’t have been productive anyway.
If you run out of energy, you’ll know. Your thoughts will start to drift and you’ll be distracted. You may feel tired. Odds are that you will NOT feel hungry. This is because your body is stupid and doesn’t tell you what’s going on. Bring protein with you. Peanuts are good, energy bars are good. Candy is BAD. Coffee is BAD. If you start to drift, have a small bite of protein. Keep this up throughout the test. Have a bottle of water to drink too. Keep the cap on (so you don’t spill) and take small sips.
After the test, you’ll feel weird. That’s a sort of protein high, and it’ll wear off. The important thing is to keep giving your brain the food and hydration it needs. Your body can be confused for a bit, it’s OK.
By the way, the reason to avoid candy (sugar) and coffee (caffeine) is because these give you easy energy. Once the easy energy is used up, your system will crash. Some people try to “ride the high” through a test. However, since crashing affects your thinking, it will impact both the results of the test and your perception as to where you are on the “high”. An exam is the wrong time to try to reprogram your brain. Use the protein, it’s more stable.
Every certification test that I know uses time to control the test. Therefore, the clock is your enemy. To win, you must control the clock by figuring out how long you have, and setting milestones. Do not worry about how much time you have until the end of the test, worry about how much time you have for each question, each page, or each task. Then, if you beat time, take a short break (1 minute) to regroup and continue. If you do not beat time, at least you are aware of where you stand.
The milestones that you set will vary by test type.