The Secret to Online Test Success

Online classes are kind of the worst. Little to no social interaction, spotty WiFi and technologically inept professors don’t quite provide the college experience many of us signed up for. Taking exams online has been a particularly strange experience. At first, I hated taking my exams in my room. At-home testing leaves you at the mercy of your neighbors' noises and your apartment’s terrible internet. It’s stressful!

But then I realized that there are definitely some perks too! Remote testing means that you don’t have to arrive to a classroom early and awkwardly sit there in silence waiting for exams to be passed out. In fact, when you’re in your room, the minutes leading up to your exam are yours; you can do whatever you want with the time you have! It is in this chunk of time, post-cramming and pre-exam, that you can really take advantage of being in your own space. I like to prepare for my exams like I’m preparing for a big basketball game (note: being 5’ 2.5”, I have never prepared for a big basketball game, or even a little basketball game… but I’d imagine it would be a somewhat similar process).

A few minutes before my test starts, I close my notes and trust that I’m as prepared as I’m going to be. Then, after I have my paper, pencil and Lockdown Browser ready to go, I grab my phone and go on Spotify. The exact song I play depends on the mood I’m in, but it’s always a fun, hype up song that I know all the words to - anything that will fuel my fire. Then, I crank up the volume, make eye-contact with myself in the mirror, and sing along! It’s like giving myself a pre-game pep talk! Does this sound insane? Probably. If someone walked into my room would they think I was losing it? Perhaps! But is it super fun, and does it get me ready and (almost) excited to take my exam? Yes! 

Our minds are so powerful - attitude and confidence are everything! Going to an exam fired up and ready to take on the world really sets you up for success. Although I have absolutely zero evidence on any correlation between pump-up-jams and exam performance, I always feel better when I start my exams motivated - and that at least counts for something. Before you judge the process, next time you have an online exam, interview or even an important presentation, try playing one of your favorite songs and really feel it. Worst case scenario: you feel embarrassed or don’t get into it and you turn the music off. Best case scenario: it is fun, inspiring, and builds your confidence! Even though you may feel a little silly or borderline insane, give it a chance! Singing hype-up-jams to myself in a mirror, as ridiculous as it sounds, motivates me to try my best, have fun, and not take myself too seriously- all three reminders that never fail to serve me well.