Testing center rituals: Be prepared

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Before taking a test, it’s imperative that each student has a pencil and bubble sheet; however, for many students, the standard preparation is not enough.

To avoid anxiety, some students have come up with their own necessary rituals to help them focus before a test.

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Some students use snack foods to cope with testing center blues.

Justin Livingstone, a junior finance major from Glendale, Ariz., said he needs his lucky pen, pencil and eraser to take tests. Livingstone said no matter what the score is, he jumps up and does a heel click when he looks at his score.

“When I do really well, I do a double heel click,” he said. “People assume that I got a really good score if I do a heel click, even though I do a double when I get a good score. I think that it is funny, so I just do it.”

As a tradition, Brillante Self, a senior from Severn, Md., majoring in Spanish translation, said she always looks for the picture of Christ and sits on the row where she can see Him while she takes a test.

“One time, the row was full, I couldn’t sit there and felt uncomfortable,” she said.

Another necessary part of her routine is a snack.

“I always get the Snoopy gummies from the vending machine,” she said. “Those get me through my tests. Sometimes, I tell myself that I don’t need to waste my money on the gummies, but I prefer to have it.”

Norman Roberts, director of the Career and Academic Success Center at the Wilkinson Student Center, said some rituals may be non-harmful or benign, but others could  be compulsion, which could lead to more serious issues.

“Some of these rituals may seem humorous, but if they interfere with students’ lives, then they may need to be addressed and students may want to work with professionals,” he said. “If compulsions, they may carry over in students’ work or other parts of their lives which can create significant problems.”

The Career and Academic Success Center provides information to help students be more successful students through its free workshop and handouts, including test preparation and textbook comprehension.

Dallas Beck, a senior economics major from Council Bluffs, Iowa, said he used to go to the music room to take a test.

“I tried there a couple of times, and it was alright, but then I noticed a lot of music that they would play are in a minor key, which made me feel depressed,” he said. “That is the last thing I want to feel when I take a test, so I stopped doing it.”

Even though Beck stopped going to the music room, he has never stopped his other tradition, eating a Texano burrito at Rancherito’s.

“It’s a way to treat myself, thinking I deserve it after having studied so much,” he said. “One time at the end of fall semester, I was running late to go to the airport. Even though I was running out of time, I couldn’t break my tradition, so I still went and made it to my flight.”

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