How to avoid Brain Freeze in Naati CCL?
By Eric Shrestha
It’s a situation many of us have experienced in the test.
You prepare well for an exam and all the information seems to be there in your mind. Anxiously, you head to the test centre and start your test. Suddenly, everything you have learned for the test seems to evaporate. You try to make remember your answers and materials but the mind seems to go out of control. Occasionally, we recover quickly, however, other times we start losing and cannot perform well in the exam. This is what I like to call “brain freeze” or “exam freeze.” This dreaded mind blank can be avoided by strategizing in advance. Let’s learn about what leads to brain freeze and what you can do in advance to help reduce the chances of brain freeze during NAATI CCL test.
So what is going on?
We have to familiarize ourselves with three areas of the brain to understand what is happening during a mind blank situation.
Firstly, the hypothalamus can be thought of as a bridge between your emotions and your physical sensations. Overall, this area of the brain has strong connections to the endocrine system, which is the controller of hormones flowing throughout your body.
Secondly, the hippocampus has a vital role in both the learning and retrieval of facts and concepts. It is like a door through which all information must pass in order to enter and exit the brain.
Thirdly, the prefrontal cortex, situated behind your eyes, is the rational part of your brain. This is the area of the brain that influences your working memory, impulse control, decision making, etc.
How a mind blank happens
The non-exam situation prevalent when you prepare for the test is predictable and low-stakes. In this situation, you engage in cold cognition – a term used to describe logical and rational thinking processes.
Let’s suppose you are studying for NAATI CCL at home, seated in your comfy bed. In this instance, the hypothalamus is slower in the production and release of key stress hormones. At the same time, the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are smoothly functioning.
In contrast, once you enter a somewhat unpredictable and high-stakes test situation, you are in a hot cognition situation. In this situation, your brain is in a non-logical and emotionally driven thinking mode. This moment is particularly common during a response to a clear threat or a highly stressful situation.
During a NAATI CCL test, you may go through a multitude of dreaded thoughts such as – what if I fail, what will happen to my Australian Permanent Residency. With these types of thought, you end up perceiving the test itself as a threat.
In this particular situation, the hypothalamus will overproduce key stress hormones, including norepinephrine and cortisol.
The entry of larger volumes of norepinephrine into the prefrontal cortex reduces neuronal firing and decreases effective communication. This decrease will evaporate your working memory (all the things you have memorized for the test is now gone) and stops the logical prefrontal cortex from affecting other brain areas.
While this is happening, large levels of cortisol find their way to the hippocampus and disrupt the activation patterns while also killing hippocampal neurons – which means you are no longer able to access old memories and your ability to perceive and store new memories is diminished. Now, that’s the reason most of us don’t remember the test questions properly.
In summary, if you perceive the NAATI CCL test as a threat – your working memory is wiped clean and the recall mechanism is disrupted. Also, you are in a hot cognition mode that overrides rational cold cognition mode.
Our research shows that this situation will be more common as NAATI CCL has gone online which means you are in an unfamiliar situation.
Is there any way to avoid this?
The good news – there are some things you can do to avoid mind blanks.
BEFORE THE TEST
Here are three things to do when you prepare for NAATI CCL test.
- STUDY SMART
Studying all of the vocabularies the night before your test is going to overload your brain, wear you out, and worst of all, it won’t stick well to your brain. Instead, studying a few words consistently and repeatedly is better. Repeated, spaced exposure to vocabulary has been proven to stick it better in our minds and improve recall. This is where Pro Naati (www.pronaati.com.au) comes in – our specialized software has materials spaced to help you learn consistently. Also, we have focused only on NAATI CCL vocabulary to maximize the finite amount of time you have.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
As much as possible, force yourself to practice. Do it under timed, test-like conditions. However, it’s easier said than done. To help you with this, we have NAATI CCL Mock Test (www.pronaati.com.au). The test simulates the exact scenario you face in the real test – giving you an edge over the test.
- LEARN TO CALM YOURSELF
Before you go for NAATI CCL test, it’s important to calm yourself. There are a variety of mindfulness and meditation techniques that can be used for this. NAATI CCL Mock Test and Unscored Practice Test will give you this opportunity, every time you prepare at home before the actual test.
- BE A SUPER NOTE TAKER
You probably cannot remember the words in a dialogue given to you during NAATI CCL test. So, practice shorthand note-taking to improve your efficiency. This can be practiced at www.pronaati.com.au
DURING THE TEST
But what if you have done everything you can to prepare for the exam and you still have a brain freeze?
Here are some tips to help you move forward with confidence.
- PUT YOUR MINDFULNESS PRACTICE TO WORK
Get your mindfulness training to work now – take a few minutes before the test to calm yourself. Don’t think of this as wasted time.
- START WITH NOTES
If you feel that your mind is frozen, start with effective note-taking of the dialogues. Once you see that you have something to start with, you will have less of a brain freeze.
Finally, when preparing for NAATI CCL test - try to push yourself in ways that will simulate the actual testing scenario you are preparing for.
If you have more NAATI CCL questions, get in touch with us through our website (www.pronaati.com.au)