Sink or Swim? Why practice is vital.
“Are you prepared for the race on the weekend?”
“Did you practice linear equations for the math test?”
“I need to learn chapter 7 before the test next week!”
Do any of these sentences sound familiar? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably said at least one of the above sentences at least once in your life, or heard them being said. Whether it’s regarding sport or school, being prepared for a race, game or test is a big stressor, so how do we do this to the best of our ability? How can we become 100% prepared and ready to succeed?
The first step of preparation is learning. Of course, we need to learn something before we try to do it. That’s common sense! In most aspects of our lives, we move on from the first step of preparation really quickly and proceed to practicing (the second step). Unfortunately, a lot of people never progress to this second step when they are studying! They will learn a topic and then revise that knowledge without ever practicing it!
If we were to use swimming as an analogy here, it’s unlikely we’d ever take the approach of just studying how to swim and then assuming we could do it without ever putting the knowledge into practice. You’d jump in the deep end and SINK! It’s important to have the knowledge, but experience in applying it and knowing how to fix our mistakes is what leads to success!
The same can be said about learning to kick a football. We could begin by watching people do it, then reading about the biomechanics and watching how-to videos, but the only way to actually get good at doing it is to practice!
When we apply these analogies back to studying and preparing for tests, it makes it seem obvious that some form of practicing is going to be necessary. But how many of us actually do it? How many times do we just read the same information or notes over and over again when we study for tests? Even writing notes isn’t really practising, it’s just solidifying more theoretical knowledge.
For us to be truly prepared for our tests and exams, we need to be doing practice tests and exams. We can memorise as much information as we like, but unless we know how best to apply that knowledge, we aren’t going to be as prepared as we could be. Just like practising swimming techniques, doing practice exams helps you avoid sinking when you get thrown into the deep end. Practise exams also help to show you what areas you need to work on more than others, and gets you thinking about the different ways knowledge can be applied. The more practice you do, the better you can hone your technique and improve until you succeed!