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Major practical test: any advice?

Begonia

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Feb 2, 2011
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Hi everyone :)

Next Wednesday I have do a 4 hour practical exam. I'm an Occupational First Aider Level 3 and along with a written exam have to do the practical exam. It involves scenarios that have me strapping people to a spine board and performing critical interventions.
There are a ton of things to remember that cannot be forgotten. The failure rate is quite high.

I've decided to do the practical exam in the morning and it starts at 8 am. 3 years ago I did the practical exam in the afternoon, but my anxiety was through the roof by the time 1 o'clock rolled around.

Here's my question: what's the best way to jump start my brain for 8 am? I notice that it takes me about 3 hours for my brain to be ready. When class starts at 8, I'm kinda useless until 9:30. I read that getting up early, hydrating well and going for a brisk walk are good tactics. What do you all think? Yay or nay, and any further tips from people who may know more about the brain (and a 50 year old menopausal one) than I do?

I'd sure appreciate your advice - if I fail, I can't keep my job. I'm pretty worried right now.

I believe in the power of sleep, but I have sleep issues and hot flashes aren't helping. I can't always get good quality sleep and it gets worse when I'm under stress.
 

cmd2014

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I might start getting up every morning between now and then at the time that you will need to do it on the day of the exam. Start a morning wake-up and energize routine (light exercise, coffee, bright light all tend to help). That and practice everything you'll need to do as many times as possible. Stress reduces your ability to think clearly and perform complex tasks, so it's helpful if things are over learned. Also, this lets you calm down by reminding yourself that you're ready and you've got this.
 

Begonia

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Thanks for replying cmd2014 :)

The practical is at 8, and I plan to be up at 5 am. As much as I would like to be up at 5 for the next 5 days, I need a bit of rest. So 6 am for Saturday, Sunday and then 5 after that :)
Not too much daylight then, sadly but I get your drift.
When I get uninterrupted sleep, I'm pretty damn good at the scenarios. Today was a dogs breakfast as I slept badly last night. Sigh...

Anyway, thanks for the feedback!
 

missy

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Begonia, I am sending you bucket loads of good luck ***DUST*** for you to pass (and do very well) on your practical exam. I remember the stress of similar tests and my heart goes out to you.

My advice is not different from what you are already doing. Get up at least 3 hours before the exam to clear your head and wake up fully as you are already planning to do.

I don't know if you exercise but if you do I recommend some light exercise in the AM to get your adrenaline and endorphins flowing and clear your brain. I find working out early helps do that.

Eat a light but nutritious breakfast with protein and carbs and fat to feed your brain.

And know you are prepared and capable and can handle this and will do well. We are rooting for you and sending big (((Hugs))) and good thoughts and lots of PS ***DUST*** your way!!! (((HUGS))).
 

tyty333

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My wake up routine would be coffee, a somewhat cold shower, and B-12 chewables...good luck and lots of dust!
 

mary poppins

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Magnesium is known to help with sleep, so you may want to start taking that if there are no contraindications with anything else you may be taking or conditions you may have.

Eating a good breakfast that includes protein and low carbs is good for brain power and maintaining good blood sugar level which will help you concentrate. Be sure to have protein befoe you study, too.

For things you need to remember, try to come up with some good mnemonics. Here are some tips and examples. http://www.learningassistance.com/2006/january/mnemonics.html

Sending sleep, study and test dust your way.
 

PintoBean

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I would gradually wake up earlier each day by 15 minutes so that the day of the test isn't such a jolt to the system to wake up so early, and you mitigate the risk of accidentally oversleeping.

The day of the test I would pack some snacks like raw nuts and a drink so that you don't burn out.
 

minousbijoux

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Would it help to know that we are all behind you and can think of you/send you positive thoughts/energy the day of the test? I know it helps me feel not so alone sometimes. We are behind you! What day/time is the test?
 

Begonia

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Oh my gosh, tearing up with your help and concern...
Thank you all so much!!

I'm going to do ALL of your suggestions cmd, missy, tyty, Mary poppins, pinto and mb!

Does it help to know you're thinking of me? You bet it does. It really does.

The test is next Wednesday at 8 am. I do that for 4 hours and then do a 2 hour written. The written is fine - for some reason, I rock written exams. It's those damn practicals that freak me out.
 

wildcat03

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I would get up as close to 5 AM as possible all week. Since it's a practical, I assume you know most of the material that could be on it. Close your eyes and visualize yourself performing the steps over and over. Sounds silly, but it will help you retain it.

DON'T study the night before the test! Put your books away early and take it easy - have a nice meal, do something to help you relax and then go to bed. Don't go to bed extra early, as you'll probably toss and turn if you do.

GOOD LUCK!
 

Begonia

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Thanks wildcat :)

I'm in bed already cuz I'm getting up at 5 now each day as suggested.
I'm going to try (for the next 3 mornings) to be up at 5, small snack, water, go for brisk walk with hills for cardio, home, shower, breakfast with protein/carbs, small cup of coffee and more water.
I'm doing spineboard practical scenarios all day tomorrow, so this will be a good test to see how effective it is. Tuesday is off and then Wednesday is the exam at 8.
 

Begonia

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Hi everyone :)

Just wanted to let you all know that your positive thoughts, great advice and ps dust worked!! I passed my practical and written exams today and I'm so relieved! I ended up with a 100% on my practical and 93% on my written. I'm stunned, and pleased of course.

I didn't sleep much last night. Went to bed at 8 and was awake at 1:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. That worried me big time but went for the morning walk, ate well, drank lots of water and small cup of coffee.

Man, was I nervous! It went well though, and my thought processes were sound.

Thank you all for your support, it means the world to me ((((())))) (hugs).
 

PintoBean

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Yay! :appl: :appl: :appl:
 

missy

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Woohoo!!! Good going Begonia! :appl: :appl: :appl:
 

Garnetgirl

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That's fantastic news, Begonia. Congratulations on doing so well on your exams :clap:
 

Begonia

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Thank you all!!

Such a relief. I can keep my job :)))

That's it for another 3 years, and they are changing the testing process for the better. It won't be like this when next I test :))
 

minousbijoux

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Just thinking more about this and feeling for those who don't pass the test and lose their jobs. :(sad I get it if there is a practical portion and they should know it in order to be competent in their positions, but based on your description, it seems frightening - unduly stressful and maybe more rigorous than it needs to be?

Happy for you to hear that they are revising it so you won't have to go through this stress again!
 

Begonia

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I agree MB, I raged against the system for the past 6 months as the course approached. It's a union position and I shaved several years off by getting a full time job with this ticket. They couldn't, in good faith, keep me without that ticket.
It all sounds wonderful that I got a job quicker, but I've had to put up with bullying and harassment over it, so there are times when I wondered if it was worth it.
Contractually, it kinda makes sense...
 

Begonia

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Also, there is likely a process in place in the event I failed. A grievance process. I don't know what that is because I wanted to take it one step at a time, and focus on passing. Ultimately though, no ticket = no job.
 

Begonia

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Also, there is likely a process in place in the event I failed. A grievance process. I don't know what that is because I wanted to take it one step at a time, and focus on passing. Ultimately though, no ticket = no job.
 

Begonia

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Sorry for the double post - damn iPad.

The testing process is unduly stressful and, happily, they are changing how we test in 2017. Many reasons but one of those being the stress component and not being able to attract ofa's because of how they test. So, it should be much less stressful to recertify very soon :appl: :appl: :appl:
 
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