I know that many of you reading this article have had your
share of disappointments or victories when it comes to standardized testing.
Every student is required to take some state standardized tests to demonstrate proficiency
in their core content subject areas-math, social studies and science, and
English/Language Arts. For professionals, there are various admission tests,
certification tests like the GRE, PRAXIS Series for teachers, MCAT, LSAT, and
seemingly a test for any and everything that one could possibly think of. I’ll be the first to admit
that taking any standardized tests is a difficult thing. It brings up a sense
of anxiety about passing or failing, getting or losing a position or promotion,
or just one’s sense of being smart.
I’m actually writing to challenge every reader to see how
healthy their brain is by taking a standardized test. You’d be surprised how
much we have really forgotten since graduating high school or college. I know
most of us think we still have the same smarts as we did back then, but science
shows us that the older we get, the less we exercise our brain leading to an
increased chance of Altzheimer’s Disease or other cognitive deficiencies.
Experts agree that to counter this, a person should regularly exercise their
brains just as they exercise their physical bodies. Of course there are plenty
of ways to do this, like puzzles, and playing games like chess, Battleship or
Scrabble and my favorite, listening to music. Those are all good, but what if
you wanted to really challenge your brain, taking a standardized test or any
test is a great way to jump start your brain health.
What does test taking do for the brain?
First, taking a test helps a person by producing natural
endorphins. These endorphins can create a sense of anxiety, but when the test
taker realizes this, those same endorphins create a sense of reaction that can
lead to relaxation and pain relief. Also because a person studies for a test,
they are activating neurons in their brains that will be active and engaged
throughout the test taking period and many years later. The sense of
accomplishment after completing a test is also very healthy for the brain.
Second, for those adults with Adult ADD/ADHD (myself
included), taking a tests is very beneficial. It helps stimulate and increase
working memory capacity. This is the ability to actively hold information in
the mind needed to do complex tasks such as reasoning, comprehension and
learning. Working memory tasks are those that require the goal-oriented active
monitoring or manipulation of information or behaviors in the face of
interfering processes and distractions. This can lead to greater productivity
and less of incomplete tasks because of easy distractions.
So if you’re looking to improve your brain health take a
test and see what happens afterwards.