First Test Performance

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If you were one of the few Americans who watched the Sochi Winter Olympics these last two weeks you may have noticed something: No matter the sport, no matter the skill level, athletes’ first runs are often—for lack of a better descriptor—poopy.skijumpweb11s-6-web

That’s right, “poopy.”

How can this be? How can an athlete who has dedicated his or her entire life to one thing still need a poopy first run before totally owning that slope or half-pipe?

The answer is simple. If you have ever participated in any high-pressure situation, you will realize that the first time through is one part “engaged performance” and one part “what the heck’s happening here?” This is normal. Even if you practiced on this particular course, or competed in similar events, there can be no avoiding the fact that you have yet to complete this event under official conditions.

In other words, welcome to your first real SAT or ACT. Sure there are plenty of Blue Trainers who have stellar first runs, and good for them. They can enjoy a hot chocolate in the lodge (with whip cream.) As for the rest of you, many of whom will go on to win the gold, it’s time to put things in perspective:

Think Process. First test, we press ourselves against the test as hard as we can: win, lose or draw. Second test, we build upon our peaks and fill in our valleys. Third test, we isolate and correct any remaining performance issues.

Performance Correction. No doubt the most important aspect of the test prep process. What went right, what went wrong? How do we get more points? At Blue Train, we have built our reputation on the depth of our Performance Correction skills. Understanding all the moving parts enables us to deconstruct, foresee and adapt to any situation, no matter the tester.

Superscore. Given that the vast majority of schools evaluate students based on their highest combined “superscore,” it is wise to think of climbing your score over several exams. Often your first test performance will help you and your tutor shape your goals and the strategies to get there.

Score Choice. It’s true. If you don’t want a school to see your score, you can pay a small fee to have that score held back from being sent anywhere. Schools would most likely ignore your low scores and focus only on your admissible numbers, but for you nervous nellies, Score Choice eases the mind. You need not worry about this until you send scores in the fall.

Having taken thousands of students from the deep recesses of doubt to the peak of ecstatic triumph, we know what works and what doesn’t. Focusing on the Process, implementing good Performance Correction and keeping your eyes on the prize is what works. What doesn’t work is stressing out, doing hours and hours of extra tests, and switching back and forth from SAT to ACT.

True to our word, if you are a Blue Trainer we will take you all the way to the end and we will make sure your Process gets all the attention it deserves. If you have taken a January SAT or February ACT and need guidance, feel free to contact the office! And for the rest of you non-Blue Trainers, just please be sure to take a big breath and keep your eyes on the prize as well.

Good luck to everyone moving ahead. Choo choo!

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