Robin Ruegg, RJD Region 4 (March 2001)
testing for new rules coming just around the corner, we all get a
little anxious and stressed. It doesn’t have to be that way! Rather
than cramming at the last minute and panicking, take time to prepare
and study now. Here are tips that work for many of us.
ahead and set goals
Scoring for optional tests is based 50% or more on the film. So
plan on studying using videotapes! Get your videotapes lined up
NOW. For Level 10 and National tests, I’d suggest the Level 10
practice judging films from USAG and NAWGJ and Elite “Classic”
meets or Elite “National” levels of competitions. Many of us like
to copy tapes so we have all vaults on 1 tape, all bars on another
Purchase note cards (to make flash cards), 3-M tabs and any other
office supplies you might need.
study tools from the NAWGJ library—computer programs, DEM cards
etc. (Note that these won’t be available until a few weeks after
the rules are published.)
your goals. Be sure they are within your control! For example,
setting a goal to finish 1st in the course is outside your
control—you don’t know how others will do. I usually set two
goals—1) To be prepared enough so I know 90% or better on flash
cards and/or a computer program BEFORE I head for the course and
2) To stay calm and focused.
up flash cards. (This is good practice for you—you learn as you
make them up).
the practical judging sheets so you have lots of them to practice
out your schedule on a calendar. I like having more time, but for
the recent Brevet course only had a month and a half. I allow
myself a few days to prepare/do flashcards, and then I schedule an
event a day. (i.e. General, Vault, Bars, Beam and Floor). I set a
minimum number of video taped routines to judge each day (usually
5, on my general days I would judge 2 on each event.)
your planned schedule. Judge your routines and do your flash cards
or computer program and QUIT for the day. Track how well you are
doing on your schedule—at first you’ll be slow and missing many
questions. I would generally study from ½ hour to an hour a day,
depending on how quickly the event went.
schedule practice judging with someone else a few times. Once a
week worked well for me. Make your practice judging sessions as
much like the real test as possible—use the judging sheets, hand
in a score.
Course or Test
let other people’s anxieties wear off on you! Walk away from it
and follow your plan. There will always be people more prepared
than you are. That’s ok.
test day, do whatever it takes to keep you calm and focused. This
year, the group I study with got together an hour before the film
and “warmed up” our hands by judging a couple routines per event.
Once we were done with an event, we crumpled up our papers and
shot them at the wastebasket. We laughed and “threw out” some of
our nervous tension with the balls of paper. Often I pace and keep
moving around. Others use deep breathing and other relaxation
techniques. Now is the time to be selfish and focus on you. Don’t
let others throw you off course.
the test is over, plan to celebrate! Go to dinner, go shopping, do
something you like to celebrate the end of another