I used to be intimidated by the length of a test. 50 questions would be an almost insurmountable challenge. 100 questions? Forget about it! That is until the Ph.D. program, where years of preparation led me to the qualifying exams: 2 days, 4 questions. If you pass, you get to move on and write a dissertation. Fail to pass it and you can say goodbye to your dream of holding a Ph.D. Forget the fear of a long test, this was a new and terrifying challenge altogether!


The exam brought waves of fear and anxiety. Every negative thought that I ever had before a test was magnified. I was convinced that I wasn’t smart enough, good enough, and there wasn’t a chance that I would remember anything that I had studied for the last few years. The more I prepared for the test, the less ready I felt. In those moments, I knew I had to change my training. My approach was not preparing me for success.


Knowing I needed a new approach, I reflected on the amazing program I was introduced to as a wrestling coach. This company, Wrestling Mindset, did several workshops with the club team I helped coach, and their four principles stuck with me.


1) I am grateful for the opportunity to wrestle.
2) I am aggressive and relentless.
3) I have no fear of losing or making mistakes.
4) I never ever give up.


I found myself reciting those principles often. Before studying, I would repeat them (changing the word wrestle to learn). I began to say them 5 times a day, then 10, and sooner than I knew it, I was repeating those phrases more than I could count. The closer I got to the test, the more I ingrained those principles into my head. My confidence rose and my anxiety went down drastically.


Walking into the test, I found myself still repeating the principles. I wasn’t thinking about the test or worrying about the information I needed to remember. Oddly enough, as the test went on, I DID remember everything I needed to. I performed at my best, had no regrets about my effort, and left nothing back. This led to passing grades on all of my questions and the opportunity to continue the pursuit of my Ph.D.


Academic Mindset will be traveling to Savannah, Georgia this week to describe the research and practices that led to the development of our world class curriculum. While the development of our program came with many conversations, research, and methodological precision, it started with the proof that it works! By strengthening my mindset, I exceled in a way that I could not have from simply studying content. My drive and commitment to serve students stems from this moment, knowing that students can reach a much higher potential by following this systematic program and strengthening their mindset. We look forward to helping you reach new levels in school and life! Contact us today to see how you can shed that fear of testing and perform at your best, every time.