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My last post spoke about willpower, specifically noting that your supply of willpower is finite and that it is used up for all different kinds of things requiring self-control. There are many ways that this relates to test-taking, but I would like to clearly state some very important truths right here: 1. If you are low on sleep, your willpower will be depleted and energy that could be fueling your brain to answer test questions will be spent keeping you awake and fighting the urge to sleep. 2. If you are hungry, your willpower will be depleted and the energy that could be fueling your brain to attack test questions with dogged persistence will be gone. Study after study have shown these two facts to be true, yet “get enough sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and bring a snack to the test” merit only a passing mention at the beginning of most test prep manuals. Please do not overlook these test preparation exercises – they might just give you the boost you need!!! Be... read more

In their book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney share an amazing amount of information about willpower, or self-control. One interesting point they make is that a number of studies have shown two particular lessons concerning human willpower: “1. You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. 2. You use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks.” So your supply of willpower is fixed and is depleted by any number of activities – studying, exercising, dieting, being patient with others. What conclusions can we draw from this as it relates to studying and test preparation? First of all, if you are involved with a rigorous test prep program, do not also attempt to start a new sport, learn a new language, and begin writing a novel all at the same time! When people make big changes in their lives or undertake new projects, their efforts are undermined when they try to make... read more

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