Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Point of Pre-testing for Belt Tests

I have a policy of always doing a pre-test for students who are testing for their next belts. Some people might think that this policy just creates more work for both me and the student, but I find it works on many levels to help my students do their best and for me to help them to their best when test time does come.

I run my pre-tests at almost the same pressure-level that I run my real tests. It lasts about the same amount of time and I go through all the curriculum as though I were testing the student for real. The main difference is that I don't mark them or take notes.

By doing my pre-test this way, students get to practice for their test, but at the same time they get a reality check of what they are facing in 1-2 weeks time. When students have a test coming up the majority of them, from my experience, take it very seriously. They come in for extra practice. They do visualization training from home. I, as their instructor, usually pay them extra attention as they prepare to help them be ready.

Sometimes, however, students under-prepare either because they don't know their own skill (or lack thereof) or they don't realize how a test can be more pressure than regular training and that this fact can affect their technical performance and physical endurance. The pre-test gives them the chance to realize they need to step up their training for when the real test is given.

On the other hand, sometimes the pre-test makes it apparent that they don't know their techniques well enough or they're not in good enough physical shape to do the test. In such cases, I, as their instructor, can opt to delay the test as long as I feel is necessary to get the quality of which I know the student is capable. This reduces the chance of test failures, which can be extremely demoralizing for a student, often leading to students giving up on their training entirely.

1 comment:

MMA Zone said...

This shows your consideration for your students. A lot of instructors wouldn't want to spend the extra time to prepare for their upcoming tests to get a feel for where they are at. I do know a couple of them though that would and I plan on mentioning your pre-test routine to them. Thanks for the insight!
Yours in the Martial Arts,