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.10 THE CONQUISTADOR MINDSET: Restructure & Testing Techniques




COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING

(Testing Techniques)



Let’s recap.


So far you have learned what a conquistador is. You understand that mindset matters for this test. You’ve learned how to study, what to study, and how to focus the rest of your time. You examined your thoughts and identified the “thought viruses” that you have in regards to the NPTE®. You have assessed your NPTE® strengths and weaknesses.


The diagnosis is done.


Now is the tougher part, because you actually have to make a change and approach studying and testing differently.


We will start today with practical techniques to practice during studying and practice tests. Specifically, these are techniques to use DURING the examination.


Learning these techniques off the bat is necessary to allow you to start using them and to get better at using them, however these are the end game. They are the things to use during the test. There is other work to be done in between now and the real test, but it’s best to be able to implement and incorporate these techniques as soon as possible so you can determine which ones work best for you.



TEST TECHNIQUES


  • Breathing reset

  • Concentration tapping

  • Muscle relaxation refocus


Let’s break each one down.



BREATHING RESET


Breathing reset is one of the easiest and most widely used techniques. It is easy to perform and easy to do without drawing attention to yourself. There are a few ways to use breathing to your advantage. You can simply implement diaphragmatic breathing (which, incidentally, is something you should know how to do for NPTE® questions 😎).


However, we advocate for a twist on the diaphragmatic breathing. Yes, you will take in a slow, deep belly breath to engage your diaphragm. Then you will passively exhale, but at the very end of your exhale after you have fully exhaled, you’re going to do a “huff”. Like you are trying to fog up a window in front of you. Make it quick and sharp. Do the process three times in a row to “reset” your sympathetic system.



CONCENTRATION TAPPING


Use this technique to help you renew your concentration when you feel it ebbing or when you come to an overwhelming question.


Cross your arms across your chest like you would when doing a sit up. Close your eyes briefly. Start a slow, rhythmical tapping motion with one hand. Pay attention to your tapping, as if you are drawing all your energy and awareness to your tapping hand. Once you feel fully aware of your tapping, open your eyes again and proceed with a fresh conscious state.



MUSCLE RELAXATION FOCUS


Your toes are an excellent source for muscle relaxation focus because they are lost under your desk and are not distracting.


Start by curling your toes in and creating tension in your foot muscles. Not too much, though, because it’s easy to cramp those small muscles. You shouldn’t be going to the point of muscle strain or cramping. Hold your tension for 5-10 seconds. Count slow and methodically, like when you use “Mississippi 1”, “Mississippi 2”, etc. While you’re contracting, pay attention to how your muscles feel. Try it now.


Then, release the tension and pay even closer attention to how relaxation feels. As you’re letting the tension out, let your anxiety out too. As if it is whooshing out through each individual toe, like a ray of sunshine.


Now go back to the question in front of you and keep moving along.



PRACTICE


Now your job is to start using these. Use them when you sit down but before you start studying. Try all of them this week. Use all of them if they work. If not, pick the one you like to most and make that your reset technique.


Use them anytime you feel overwhelmed.


Use them anytime you are overthinking a question.


Use them anytime your focus drifts and your attention wanes.


Finally, don’t forget to try them when you are doing practice tests so that you can see how you want to use them in the real test.








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