Ambitious effort to improve confidence while test-taking


People have tried for years to find ways to improve their test-taking skills, but few have tried something as unique as one BYU student.

Some students find the Testing Center to be a place of great anxiety where poor academic memories reside. Krys Gardner, a senior from Provo studying construction management, has started his own venture to help students have confidence while in the Testing Center. He and a few of his colleagues started Test Vest last month.

Some students are using unique methods to conquer nerves while taking tests. Photo courtesy of Test Vest
Some students are using the unique method proposed by Test Vest to conquer nerves while taking exams. (Photo courtesy Test Vest)

Gardner said the theory is that by drawing attention to the person wearing it, the test-taker’s attention is diverted away from nerves and worries regarding the upcoming test. Each Test Vest is a simple, bright yellow construction worker’s vest with the words “Test Vest” written on it.

“The idea behind the Test Vest is that one relieves themself of the stress of the test they are about to take … and relish in the fact that they look different,” Gardner said. “As you get this attention, as people notice and as you stand out, people comment on it, and it builds confidence. Then you’re able to remember what you have studied up to that point.”

The implementation and promotion of the Test Vest has not come without obstacles.

“The biggest challenge for people is getting them to wear it the first time,” Gardner said. “After they’ve done it, they’re totally sold.”

Justin Weidman, an assistant professor of construction management, has been a supporter of Gardner’s efforts to ease the stress of students.

“I think it’s a fun thing that he’s taking on,” Weidman said. “It shows (his) creative side. He really went from just using it for himself to actually creating something bigger.”

While Gardner cannot guarantee a better grade on a test, he and others who have tried the vest believe it can make the test-taking experience a better one than before. Keith Madsen, a junior from San Diego studying business said his Test Vest experience was helpful.

“(It) … distracts your mind from pressure, and it just helps you be relaxed and be yourself,” Madsen said. “When you take a test I think those are some of the more important attributes to have. … Usually when you’re stressed you second guess yourself or you don’t perform as well. I think the Test Vest helps put you in the right frame of mind.”

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