Hello! I’ve just counted and this is my tenth blog since I started writing about my experiences on the Pharmacy Technology program at the Carrington Mesa campus. You can read all the others through this link if you want to start at the beginning – My Starting Point. Today, I wanted to talk a little about preparing for tests, exams and the power of positivity!
I’m lucky that I don’t suffer from test anxiety, but I do sometimes overreact to stuff that’s not that serious. Earlier this year I completely blanked in a test. I’d worked hard, I knew the material and I was confident I was going to get a good grade, but when the test started I really just blanked! I still have no idea why! My teacher was really helpful, even during the test. He didn’t give me any answers obviously, but he asked questions that helped refresh my memory and remember what it was that I needed to do.
I still didn’t do very well, but I’m not the kind of person to dwell on things, so I moved on. It was just one test, and there’s one thing for sure at Carrington, there will always be more tests!
When I first got 100% in a test, I was very happy – I felt really accomplished. I felt proud of myself. And that motivated me to keep going, and to get more 100% tests. That’s my goal every time I take a test now. For me, getting 100% in a test brings me up much more than doing poorly brings me down.
Every day I try to go in with a positive attitude, regardless of what’s going on outside of school. If I’ve had a bad day at work, or something’s just not going my way that day, I always try to have a positive mindset when I walk through that door.
Find Your Own ‘Exam Mojo’
I’ve discovered that I study best alone; for me reading and repeating stuff to myself makes me understand things a little better than someone else reading it to me. I tend to get more confused when someone else tries to explain things. Sometimes it’s good to sit with a study group and go through things to learn how others see something, but for me I’m usually better prepared when I’m by myself.
I’ve also learned that it’s really important to take a break after about an hour of heavy studying – if I don’t take a break then I start to not remember what I’m reading. I try to get some air, or go and get a healthy snack or something – at least get up and move around! Try to fit in a work-out, not necessarily at the gym, but even a walk will clear your mind.
In the Pharmacy Technology program, flash cards are going to be your best friend. They’re the best way I’ve found to retain information, especially when you’re trying to learn things like the generic versions of brand drugs. We use flash cards a lot; we’ll often pair up and test each other using flash cards, especially on the day before or the day of a test. They work better for me than note taking, reading aloud, or some of the other memory techniques that work for other people.
Ditch The Negative People
I’ve noticed that if I go into class with a negative attitude – I’m tired/I just don’t want to go/I’m not prepared – I feel like I don’t retain the information as well as I do when I go in with a positive attitude. I try to use that concept every day of my life – in and out of school. I have a very small circle of friends, but they’re all very positive – try to keep yourself around positive people. There are going to be bad days, and things you can’t control, but just try to stay positive.
Thanks for checking in again – It’s nearly time for my externship! It’s so exciting! In my next blog I’ll share some of my experiences of working with Career Services and talk about preparing for my externship!