Taking a test
Now is the time you have been preparing for–the rank test.
Here are some tips on how to make the test easier and perhaps, successful.
- Remember the criticism. Since your last test, your instructor has told you about major things you have been doing wrong. In the days preceding this test, your instructor has pointed out minor problems that you need to correct. During the test, remember these criticisms and ensure you do not make the same mistakes.
- Exude confidence. Be confident, determined, and assertive, but relax and remain humble. When a kiai is required, make it loud, strong, and clear. You may be nervous and afraid, but do not show it. Strong kiais, confidence, and determination will impress everyone at testing. Acting confident and relaxed, almost to the point of arrogance, may make up for minor errors.
- Ignore mistakes. If you make a mistake, ignore it and act as if nothing happened. After watching so many students perform the same techniques, examiners tend to get bored. They see what they expect to see. If you do not point out a mistake, they will probably not see it. Even if the examiners notice it, if you act as if it never happened, they may doubt themselves and give you the benefit of the doubt. So, do not make any expression that draws attention to a mistake, such as a sigh, eye roll, flinch, or head drop. After a mistake, intensify everything you do. Even if the examiner noticed the mistake, make him or her forget it by giving a performance worthy of spectator applause.
- You have some slack. Each organization has minimum requirements for advancement to the next belt level. Examiners are trained to look for the completion of these minimums, such as correct movements in patterns or correct technique in step-sparring. Regrettably, at the lower color belt levels, students who fail to advance will probably quit training so to keep students from dropping out of classes, at the color belt levels, examiners give students a lot of slack. If a student performs the steps of a pattern correctly, he or she will probably pass even if their technique was sloppy. If the board breaks, the student will probably pass even though the technique was technically poor. Some organizations award temporary or recommended belts in addition to the standard belt levels. This awards a borderline student the belt, but the student's instructor must certify the student as a standard belt before the student may test for the next belt. You have some slack, but examiners will not lower organization standards just to promote students.
- If you fail. If you fail, ensure you know exactly why. You may think you know why, but you may be wrong and may fail again for the same reason. You may have made a mistake on your pattern; however, the underlying reason for the failure may have been a lapse in concentration. Do not let the failure dampen your spirit. Any warrior can handle victory, a true warrior is one who can handle defeat, and return victorious. Return to training with renewed vigor. Work to improve all your techniques but concentrate on what caused your failure.