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Exam taking: Art or Science?. The Pony Club Instructors Conference. Nikki Heath Symbiotics Ltd. Statements. Some exams can naturally de-select/select a particular type. Some people are good exam takers but are less effective in the working or performing environment

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exam taking art or science

Exam taking: Art or Science?

The Pony Club

Instructors Conference

Nikki Heath

Symbiotics Ltd

  • Some exams can naturally de-select/select a particular type.
  • Some people are good exam takers but are less effective in the working or performing environment
  • Some exams do not test the appropriate skill sets for effective long term performance
good examinees born or made
Good Examinees: Born or Made?
  • Ability to feel they can change situation – not a victim of fate
  • Self Efficacy/belief
  • Perspectives – interpretation of events and attribution
  • Ability to manage uncertainty - robustness
  • Ability to deal with criticism – resilience
  • Preparedness and attitude – self defeater or perfectionist
added kick for equestrians
Added kick for equestrians…

…..Effects of the horse!



They add a large element of uncertainty… uncertainty is the biggest cause of anxiety

Anxiety has a major impact on performance

Loss of performance impacts on confidence….

The horse reacts to confidence…

candidate differences
Candidate differences
  • Personality differences
    • Perfectionist
    • Self Defeater
  • Learning Styles
    • Technical
    • Intuitive
  • Background, experience planning and training
  • Beliefs and style
    • Attribution
    • Anxiety type
cognitive and physical tasks
Cognitive and Physical Tasks
  • Ability to sustain both effectively under pressure
  • Associated to learning style
  • Continuous open loop tasks heavily affected by intervention of thought
  • Anxiety type – somatic or cognitive
anxiety type
Anxiety Type
  • Somatic signs
    • Tense and jerky
    • Hesitant
    • Sweating
    • Aggressive
  • Cognitive signs
    • Joking and laughing
    • Yawning and lethargic
    • Poor concentration and focus
exam conflicts
Exam Conflicts
  • Personal Goals vs Exam Goals
  • Personal Goals vs actual ability (dissonance)
  • Preparation vs reality
  • Perception of control
  • Over confidence vs under confident
    • Equestrian proneness to self consciousness
  • Over prepared
    • Rigidity
    • Violation of expectation
the impact of the horse
The impact of the horse
  • A learning organism that is also affected by environment
  • Is inconsistent and unpredictable
  • Can cause feelings of unequal playing field – creating anger or despondency
the impact of the examiner
The impact of the examiner
  • Communication style
  • Perceptions of candidate behaviour
  • Body language
  • Perceptions by candidate of examiner behaviour
controllable internal wind ups
Controllable Internal wind ups
  • Feeling of not belonging
  • Fear of opinion – Gamesmanship
  • Guilt – responsibility of expectation
  • Lack of self belief
  • Under horsed/under prepared
  • Over tired and under resourced
  • Not in control – attribution and planning
4 cs of effective performance
4 Cs of effective performance
  • Communication
  • Control
    • Planning and preparedness
    • Self management
  • Confidence
    • Anxiety
    • Attribution
    • Self Efficacy
  • Commitment
    • Stickability and resilience
strong candidates
Strong Candidates
  • Preparedness
  • Fall back strategy and flexibility
  • Ability to park problems or negative feelings
  • Understanding of organisational issues
  • Understanding of own contribution to problems
  • Taking control
  • Understanding own personal triggers and flashpoints
  • Preparedness and planning
  • Effective communication
  • Even handedness
  • Understanding of the external issues if they have occurred – knowing when to be flexible
  • Tolerance when faced with a display of internally produced behaviours