I’ll be honest, I very strongly dislike standardized tests. The source of this dislike can be credited to my mother, who also strongly opposes standardized tests. Growing up, I didn’t have many tests. The homeschooled life afforded me the luxury of learning my way. High school was challenging because I literally had to teach myself subject I knew nothing about with limited internet access and textbooks. Yet, this was not as challenging as it sounds like because all my tests were open book. When I say all, I mean ALL. Because of this experience, I am quite comfortable with open book tests. Partially because I think that it’s reassuring to know that all the answers are contained somewhere in the book and you just have to find them. Piece of cake. Consequently, when it came time in my high school career to take the tests that indicate if you’re smart and if you’ll go to a decent college, I experienced a high level of anxiety. The results of this anxiety was that I took the SAT three times (yes, three) and the ACT twice. For a grand total of…………a lot of hours spend in a cold room filling in bubbles. I prefer essay tests to filling in bubbles. Eight pages of blank paper and a one sentence question on top of each page? I’m down. I’d much rather give a speech in front of thousands of people than take a timed standardized test. Honestly, one of the things that I liked about graduate school is that I only had ONE test the entire length of my program. It was great. However, my professional goals demand that I take tests for licensure in my field. And, the time has come to start to study and prepare for this test. No, I’m not excited but I am more than ready to get this out the way so that I can move on with my life. I can’t wait.
One thing that struck me today was the importance of knowing your audience. This proves true in so many situations. We can all think of a teacher or someone in a leadership position that pretty much sucked at their job because they did not know how to effectively communicate their ideas and thoughts to their audience. Personally, I hate being in these type of situations because I feel like I’m at the mercy of the speaker and that while they may have knowledge that is applicable to my life, they lack the ability to convey it to me and their audience. The same proves true with people who may not be in a leadership capacity. Even when talking to friends it’s important to think about how someone will take what you say. Some people need a straightforward approach while others respond better when the words are gently padded. It’s all about knowing the audience that you’re speaking to. No one would speak to a group of five year olds in the same way that they spoke to a group of people in their 30’s. Each group is different and the speaker’s approach should be tailored to the needs of the group. There’s no reason for a “one size fits all” approach when dealing with people. People don’t want to be talked down to. They want to listen to someone who can empathize with their current situation and communicate ideas in a way that helps them. Otherwise, they’ll just get bored and tune out.