Sunday, August 14, 2011

Test Day Worst-Case Scenarios

There’s nothing wrong with being a little nervous on test day. The SAT can be scary. The key is to stay calm and have a plan for everything. Here are a few simple solutions for some test-day challenges you may or may not expect.

Problem: You forget your pencil.

Solution: The most important thing to remember is not to panic. Ask the proctor nicely if he or she has any extra writing implements. If not, ask your neighbor. If your neighbor says no, try creating your own pencil. While no one is looking, duck under your desk and discreetly saw off one of the legs. Don’t forget to carve “#2” into the side; otherwise, College Board won’t accept it.

Problem: When you arrive at the test center, you realize you aren’t wearing any clothes.

Solution: The most important thing to remember is not to panic. You are probably dreaming. Try flipping the lights on and off a few times. If the lights stay on no matter what, you know you are asleep (I learned that from a movie). If the lights do turn off, and now everyone is mad at you for being naked and playing with the lights, politely ask the proctor if he or she will turn up the heat in the exam room. You don’t want to catch a cold.

Problem: You develop amnesia in the middle of the test and forget everything you have studied, along with your name and address.

Solution: The most important thing to remember is not to panic.

Problem: Your test is written in French, which you do not speak.

Solution: This problem is rare; it is more common for the test to be in German. However, if you do receive a test in French, remember these few words:

· hello—bonjour

· have a nice day— bonne journee

· reading—la lecture

· math—mathematiques

· pencil—crayon

And so on. I’m sure you can figure out the rest from there.

Problem: Zombies enter the exam room and start eating people.

Solution: The zombies are probably lost. Keeping an eye on the time, find the zombie who looks like the leader (probably the biggest, most aggressive one). Direct him or her towards the nearest graveyard or shopping mall. If you do not know the area very well, point the lead zombie in the direction of the building’s receptionist desk. Your proctor, provided he or she remains uneaten, may be willing to grant you a few extra minutes because of the distraction.

Problem: Your test paper grows teeth and devours your pencil.

Solution: See solution to problem 1.

Problem: Somebody in the exam room keeps flipping the lights on and off.

Solution: Test-takers will sometimes act strangely because of something they read in a stupid “what-if” style list. Try to ignore them. If you can’t ignore them, try to reassure them. The most important thing you can remind them of is that they shouldn’t panic.

The real purpose of this post is just this: a lot of things can happen to you on test day, but it’s never the end of the world. You are smart. You are capable. You have studied. You are going to be fine. The most important thing to remember is not to panic.

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