As I write this Brazil is losing 5-0 to Germany in the World Cup Semi-Final. Which is being played in Brazil. Brazil hasn’t lost a competitive match in Brazil since 1975. Everything has gone wrong.
For Brazil it started with an injury to star forward Neymar, got worse with the suspension of star defender Thiago Silva and continued with clinical German passing picking apart the defense. Everything has gone wrong.
After years of doing test prep, I know several students who have similar stories. They’ve mis-bubbled entire sections, they’ve gotten completely flustered, they’ve spend the entire test feeling sick. What do you do in that situation?
First of all understand that a bad test day doesn’t necessarily mean you had a failure in preparation. Sometimes things just go bad. Next, understand that what happened in the past is gone and done, and no amount of worrying can change that. Finally, don’t think about the future. There ARE going to be other test days and other chances, and you will have a shot to prove what you know.
So in that moment, what can you do?
1. Stay in the moment- If things have gone so wrong that you can’t redeem your score for now, realize that you’re never going to get a better opportunity to practice in realistic conditions. Embrace that! Take the time to get used to the surroundings, and put in a couple good sections that you can build on for next time.
2. One question at a time- Sure, it sounds cheesy, but it’s absolutely the right move. The fact of the matter is that students are often very poor judges of their own performances in the heat of the moment. What felt like a disaster at the time may not have been that terrible. If you keep going strong, there still may be time to make up for any shortcoming you had! I’ve had several students tell me about their awful test experiences before receiving a really good score in the mail!
3. Find hope in the experimental section- If you encountered a section that went completely wrong, remember it might have been experimental! This is especially good advice for those of you taking the SAT, because as the SAT prepares to make changes, current test takers are likely to be guinea pigs for future types of test questions. But those new and funny questions are experimental and don’t count in your score. The only way they can hurt you is if you allow them to fluster you for future sections!
Good luck and here’s hoping you don’t need any of this advice!