One of the most common questions that I have encountered over the past few weeks is “What did you change?” What did I do differently this time that I didn’t do the other 5 times that I sat the exam. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact one or two things. In truth, I changed a whole lot about what I was doing, however it’s hard to say if changing these things would have made a difference if I hadn’t done the other things that didn’t work the first 5 times.
Anyway, here are the things that I thought made the most difference.
I went all in. I said to myself “I am NOT doing this again!”
Having multiple attempts gives one a certain level of comfort. You end up mentally saying to yourself “Well, I’m going to give it everything but at least I have X more attempts if I don’t pass.” As soon as you start to mentally say “if I don’t pass” you are not going to. I went into this year with the personal objective of all or nothing. If I only passed half, I still was done. There would be no more attempts. This personal goal gave me extra urgency to get it done in one shot.
I changed Mentors
I have been fortunate to consider many MW’s my mentors even beyond the formal “mentor program”. This year I was taken under the wing of DC Flynt, who whipped me not just into tasting shape but SUPER READY, EVERY POINT COUNTS, DON’T THINK THAT EVEN A TINY SLIP WILL GET YOU BY tasting shape. He nit-picked every word, phrasing, and structure of my answers. I didn’t do more tasting than I did in previous years but the tasting that I did was far more highly scrutinized to the point where my answers were scalpel sharp and short. Get in, get points, get out. Done.
I gave up doing Theory Essays
Now don’t for one second think that you can come into this program and not write a single essay and pass the theory on your first try. You can’t, so don’t think that is what I’m saying. I wrote essays for EVERY SINGLE QUESTION from the exams 2000-2011 during my first few attempts and I passed in 2012. The fish bowl technique is fantastic for getting to know what you need to know. I just was at the point this year where I knew I could hammer out an essay in the time limit easily if I had a great mind map. I wrote the three or four required essays for the formal Assignment Marking Scheme but that was it. Everything else was was mind mapping. I fishbowled the questions from 2012-2015 and mind mapped like crazy. No essays. You cover more ground in a shorter amount of time and I was able to go into the exam ready to cover whatever they could throw at me.
I was Hypnotized
No Really! I was! I went to a Hypnotist at ROC Hypnosis (See her website here) and she helped me understand what was holding me back mentally. It took two sessions which were incredibly enlightening and relaxing. She asked me questions like “What would be the worst thing that happened to you if you passed?” I had never contemplated that before and it opened up some mental blocks that I had put on myself that I had never thought of. I was able to mentally let go of all the stress and worry that was holding me back. It was incredible and I highly recommend it.
LOTS! I am a Christian and I believe in the power of prayer so I spent two hours in the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church the Monday before the exam. I attended mass, sat and meditated, read scripture, and even prayed to St Rita, Patroness of Impossible Causes, because I knew I could not accomplish this task on my own. I am not Catholic but this particular day it felt right like the right place to be. Now I’m sure there are some who will read this who don’t believe, that think this was just something to make myself feel better. I will not judge you for it because everyone is entitled to their own system of beliefs. I also am acutely aware that I am not perfect, so I try to be as good of a person as possible and not bible thump on a regular basis. However, I can tell you that I had not prayed as fervently in the past as I did this day, with a desperation that I can truly say I had not felt before any of the other exams and I felt that God was with me in those hours and finally gave his blessing for me to pass.
So that’s it. I did the best I could and really went for it. I removed every mental block that I had put on myself and had nothing else to lose. I put it all in God’s hands and gave up the thought that I could accomplish this impossible task on my own. I’m so thankful that I got good news finally and am so excited (and still pinching myself) to be a Stage 3 student!!!!
Best of luck to all that are still striving for the exam! I hope this helps in some way.