You’ve probably become very familiar with your favorite pair of after hours sweatpants. Your hair is likely done up in a permanent ponytail.
And your eyes! Red and puffy from countless evenings of reviewing building codes. Perhaps there’s a paper cut or two to add to the mix?
If this sounds like your life amidst your NCIDQ study regime, don’t worry. Audrey Hepburn can help. Not the actual Audrey Hepburn, of course, but rather her elegant way of approaching life.
Known for her impeccable style and equally faultless manners, she played out her life on a glamorous stage that most of us can only dream about. However, she lived life with grace and by the guidance of a few simple lessons.
Take a study nap
Audrey’s radiant eyes weren’t all genetics. She was a fan of the afternoon nap and had a nap every day after filming to recharge her batteries. It’s no surprise that a short nap is beneficial for increased alertness and overall performance.
Incorporate a nap in your schedule while you prepare for the exam if you can. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a nap of 20 to 30 minutes, as it won’t leave you feeling groggy or interfere with a regular sleep cycle.
Audrey Hepburn was a woman ahead of her times. Long before the days of organic vegetables and Whole Foods, she prescribed to simple diet with fruits and vegetables, and pasta (and a touch of scotch) only occasionally. Audrey didn’t eat junk food, but as a treat after her afternoon nap, she allowed herself a modest single square of chocolate. (Not a whole “rectangle” of a Hershey bar!)
When exam day arrives, hold yourself back from downing a bag or two of M&Ms to sugar-rush yourself through the afternoon. It’s common sense, but eating a balanced breakfast and lunch is going to carry you farther than Starbucks and high-fructose corn syrup.
Good seated posture
If posture had a poster child, it would have been Audrey Hepburn. She sat elegantly, bolt upright, with her legs in perfect alignment.
Good posture doesn’t only look refined, it’s good for you. A slouching spine will give you a pain in the neck and back and deter from concentrating on your exam. Sit as straight as possible with your feet on the floor and the core of your body centered in the chair. You’ll likely perform and feel better.
Dress well, test well
Okay, the oversized sunglasses, a strand of pearls and a cocktail dress aren’t going to do anything positive for you on test day…but dressing nicely and still comfortably will!
We’ve all heard about first impressions about what we wear influencing other people’s perceptions of us, but what about our perceptions of ourselves? Carly Heitlinger, author of the book Freshman 50 states, “Dressing well can instill self-confidence which is necessary for test-taking.”
Dress well and test well.
Audrey’s childhood dream was actually to be a ballerina. While a film career replaced that dream, she did incorporate one dance item into her daily wear – ballet flats. They’re very comfortable and look great with any outfit. Nix the gym shoe idea. You’ll feel like a ragamuffin.
Audrey’s everyday wardrobe consistently included slim black pants, a crisp freshly ironed white shirt, and a sweater. While the pants and shirt are up to you, do take a sweater with you to the testing site. The site hosting my practicum exam was, from memory, a few degrees shy of freezing.
Enjoy the day
It sounds kind of crazy to enjoy an exam day. Yet, it’s a milestone in your career path that you’ve worked so hard to qualify for and study for. You’ve likely prepared as well as you could have. You’ve probably given up some fun times with friends or loved ones in order to reach this goal. Ready to finally ace the NCIDQ Exam? Enjoy it!
Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. Audrey Hepburn