Research shows that a huge percentage of self-talk is negative, which makes finding your 25% reserve of positive self-talk very important heading into the LARE exam. Assuming you put in the prep time, your attitude going into the test center will energize all you’ve learned and sustain you during the exam.

You’re traveling to the test center. If you’re anxious like me, you may have previously gone there so you know where it is and what the reception room looks like. You have eaten enough, but not too much. You’re well hydrated. You have a healthy snack and a bottle of clean water to put in your locker for a break during the exam if you need it. You’ve dressed in layers (no jacket or vest with pockets) so you’ll be comfortable in the exam room. You consciously breathe deeply and slowly. You are aware of all you’ve learned and all the good preparation you’ve made.

The proctor in the reception room hands you an erasable white board, a black marker, and a working calculator, which you take with your driver’s license, from the reception area into the exam room. There are about a dozen computer work stations, wall clocks, and a glass observation booth for the proctor. The proctor shows you to your work station and turns on the computer calling up the tutorial that precedes the exam. Then you are left alone to settle in. You adjust the keyboard, mouse, and chair to suit you. A set of noise cancelling headphones is on the desk. You try them on to see if you feel they will help you focus. People already taking their exams on other topics pay no attention to you.  Except for tapping keyboards the room is quiet. You breathe consciously and deeply and start the tutorial.

The allotted 30 minutes for the tutorial is much longer than you need. You use that time to become facile with the exam interface and can easily navigate between the ‘skip,’ ‘flag,’ and ‘review’ functions and screens. You exit the tutorial and the first LARE question appears on the screen. You ignore it for a moment while you write any formulas or notes you wish on your white board. You feel ready. You are centered. You now read the first question, knowing you have ample time to respond to all of them plus check your work.

You respond to the questions one by one, easier ones and harder ones. Point by point you build up your score until you feel you have enough points to pass. You know you don’t need a perfect score so you are unconcerned when a handful of questions seem baffling. You give every question your best shot. To maintain focus and self-confidence you ignore the “comments” tab at the top of every question. You know you can email CLARB with your critique later if you choose. You remember to rest your eyes during the exam, looking past the screen to the wall in front of you to refocus your eyes and attention periodically. You feel your feet on the floor and you straighten your back to allow oxygen to freely circulate. You remember to breathe.

You’ve made your first pass through the test, taking a break if you wish. When you review your questions you only change responses you are certain of. You make good mental notes of any questions for your personal research later on. And then it’s over! You exit the exam interface when you’re confident you’re done. You raise your hand for the proctor, who turns off your computer and accompanies you back to the reception area. You walk outside into the daylight and find a quiet spot to write any mental notes you’ve made before they fade. You congratulate yourself for undertaking this challenge and treat yourself to something nice as a reward. You know that whatever the outcome, today you’ve made your best effort. During the six weeks before you learn your results, you live life completely free of the LARE!

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