Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

September 1, 2013

WHOLE FAMILY: Keep your minds and those No. 2 pencils sharp

(Continued)

SO, WHAT’S THIS TESTING all about? I’ve already mentioned it’s about measuring success or defining a condition. But why? Easy. Test results are one way to determine what needs to happen next. Think about those achievement tests. Fail one in school and see how quickly the word “remediation” pops up. At the eye doctor, your test might determine whether or not the doc recommends glasses or sends you home bare-faced for another year.

Our lives are made up of little tests every day designed to give us information for the purpose of making decisions. To wit: Gingerly sip the hot coffee to assess if you’re able to gulp it. Put your wrist under the faucet before turning on the shower. We also take more than a few achievement tests every day, though we often don’t even think of them as such. Driving across town, my ability to remember and adhere to traffic laws is measured, for example.

WHAT IS MY POINT? Not entirely sure myself. But being immersed in tests all the time, I’ve come up with a few tips for taking them.

One: Don’t let them scare you. Tests are just part of life and will be forever, whether you’re in academics or not. Just consider them the next thing when they’re the next thing, then take them.

Two: Take care of yourself physically and otherwise. Sleep well, eat well, exercise and minimize stress. Really. I’ve gotten to the point that if I say “I cannot” do those things, then I have to drop something because those things simply must be done.

Three: Get good at taking tests by learning what kind of test it is, even who wrote it and whom the audience is. For a nursing test, for example, I’m going to think a little differently than I will for a driving test.

Four: It’s OK to memorize, test and forget – but only when it’s OK. While I value every ounce of information I come across in nursing school, I hone in on the information I’m pretty sure will be especially necessary in my clinical assignments and as I go on in my career. The other stuff? I learn it, sure, but I don’t stress it if I learn it and all but forget it after a test. Whatever specialty or role I’m in, I promise t make sure to pay special attention to that information when I get there.

Five: Having a couple newly sharpened No. 2 pencils, even when your tests are on the computer, still makes me feel hopeful, confident and smart. Most times.

Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, midwife’s assistant and nursing student from Elkhart. Contact her at wholefamily@goshennews.com, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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