No matter how much you prepare for test day, you can’t plan for everything. Take my SAT experience, for example.
First of all, I received an email from the Overlords of the SAT just a few days beforehand, informing me that the location of the test had been changed. I printed out the new ticket and set it on my desk—right next to the original.
On the day of the test, I woke up early to meet my ride, quickly grabbing the ticket from my desk. My friend Zach had suggested that a few of us should carpool together, partially to save gas, partially so we could talk about the test on the way home. Zach got lost on the way to my house and showed up 15 minutes late. After getting lost on the way to the next house as well, we arrived at the high school, barely in time for the test.
Fortunately for us, enough people had been confused by the change in location that the proctor decided to start late. While I waited in line to hand the proctor my ticket, I seethed against every object and person in the room. Everyone was stressed. Everyone was anxious. It was too early for this. Finally, I arrived at the front of the line—and, no surprise, it turns out I had the wrong ticket.
After a few tense moments of speculation, the proctor allowed me to take a seat. Even after everyone sat down, it took an extra 15 minutes for the exam to begin because the proctor couldn’t figure out how to fix the clock on the wall.
My point is this: even though nothing went according to plan, even though I was tired and frustrated and was ready to give up, I knew that I needed to shut off all the negative voices in my head and lock into the Test Zone. In the end, I did really well on the SAT, and I felt even better about my score knowing how hard it was.
There will always be bumps in the road to testing success. Always. There will always be a song stuck in your head, or a person coughing, or broken clock. If you prepare for the worst and refuse to be distracted, you will succeed no matter what.