Test preparation typically describes the extensive coaching, studying, and practice that supports peak performance during high stakes testing. Sometimes, though, the term literally means being prepared for whatever might happen on test day. The standard array of #2 pencils, the right snacks, and comfy clothes are usually all that is needed to get through even the toughest exams. But, every so often, a problem arises that a big, pink eraser can’t fix.
Testing can take as much of a toll on your body as it does on your brain. The atmosphere of intense concentration and anxious silence tends to open up nasal passages and magnify the nuisance factor of every little itch, pain, and sniffle. Unless something very wrong occurs, you won’t need band aids, antiseptic, or a defibrillator, but a small, well-stocked first aid kit could save your test day:
Like the fabled thorn in the lion’s paw, one little headache can tame even the most ferocious tester. Make sure to bring a dose or two of your preferred analgesic.
Cold symptoms like sneezing, sniffling, and coughing may be minor nuisances from a health perspective, but they can be fatal to test scores. Test takers should pre-medicate before an exam, but some emergency meds could be just what the (test) doctor ordered. Just make sure you don’t pack anything that will make you drowsy. For test purposed, DAY=good and NIGHT=bad.
Allergy-induced inflammation of your nasal passages is just as bad for your scores as cold or flu symptoms. Be prepared for a sudden onset of allergy symptoms, especially if you suffer environmental sensitivities. Anyone prone to itchy eyes should also pack eyewash. Again, look out for allergy medication that puts you to sleep!
Not every test taker has to deal with asthma, ADHD, or some other chronic issue requiring ongoing or emergency treatment. Those that do should pack anything and everything they are likely to need over an intense four hour period. For example, College Board permits epinephrine auto-injectors–AKA EpiPens–without the need for accommodations or permission. Just pack your special medications in a clear bag that you can keep under your desk during testing.
Tissues may not technically be considered medication, but they are the perfect short-term cure when the sniffles start. Not only do tissues come in handy for those symptoms associated with colds and allergies, but some test takers, sad to say, will need to sop up a tear or two. Many test centers wisely stock tissues, but bring your own or risk wiping your face on your sweatshirt sleeve!
When you’re packing your test essentials the night before a big exam, review this list for the elements that apply to you personally. A small but well-stocked first aid kit will ensure that minor ailments don’t become major distractions on test day.