Growing up in the public school system, we are evaluated in numerous aspects of academia, as well as a little “Presidential Fitness” test jockeyed into PE class. Luckily, I was able to hammer out the 34 crunches and get a 12 on my V-sit, however standardized testing in the classroom came as a different challenge.  I was a pretty smart kid growing up, performing at the top of my class more often than not, and hey, I made it to Graduate School on the first try, but when it came to standardized testing, you would not depict the same results of my performance.  My point, in this lovely walk down memory lane, is that so much time and energy was spent on learning how to take the test, that I lost the sensibility and creativity of how I actually learned and thought, that when test time came, it was the most stressful and counterproductive moments of my life.

Going to middle school in Oregon between 1998 and 2002, I became the lucky subject of Oregon’s new academic state testing materials – Certificate of Initial Mastery, or CIM (pronounced SIM).  Holy hell, every week we would spend half of a school day learning how to take this test.  We were taught the strategy and methods of this test, in order to pass it.

Now take this idea, training how to master an assessment, and apply that idea to sports or performing.  As a consultant, would you spend large portions of your sessions teaching your client how to properly take, and methods of test scoring to getting a high score on their Fear of Failure inventory?  The emphasis of outcome, can be detrimental to performance, mental skills, resonance and high lack of mindfulness and enjoyment of whatever one may be engaged in.  Although we will be using assessments with clients in order to assist them, we should still remember and rely heavily on the client-consultant relationship, the conversations and observations we gain from our clients’ pure participation in their activity.

Allow clients to relish in their experiences being assisted and enhanced by mental skills, coping skills, and the effect of participating in a counseling experience.  There are definite times, as I look back at middle school, where I would have had a much less stressful experience in the classroom.