« on: July 11, 2012, 09:54:49 AM »
It is still early in my process, but a few things that I have found useful.
Seeing the common question format for the LR questions (as described in the LR Bible) helps me to be better prepared to disassemble the question in a timely manner. Learning that I have roughly 80 seconds per LR question, and trying to become familiar with that chunk of time so I have a better feeling for how I am doing on time.
Other areas of general comfort have come up. My diag exam was one of the few times I had used a wooden #2/HB pencil for more than a few seconds in many years. I discovered two things, one being that I did not like the pencil I used for the diag, and two, that spending several hours completing a test with a writting utensil you dislike can cause hand discomfort. Not the end of the world, but who needs another distraction?
So I decided to do a bit of research and try out pencils that seem to be highly recommended. To ensure I am getting plenty of exposure to these pencils I have started using wood pencils for all my general writting needs. I have gotten more comfortable, regained some lost skill in managing the edge of the lead as I write, and more fluid with sharpening when the need arises.
The other adjustment I have made, has been to acquire an analog watch. It had been a long time since I had last used one on a regular basis. By using it daily for the next year or so, I am hoping to lessen the chance for confusion/mistakes. I choose a Seiko automatic dive watch for the bezel to aide with tracking time on the exam, and while the automatics are not as accurate as the quartz watches, they are not dependent upon batteries. I would much rather be off by 3-5 seconds over the course of a 35 min exam (a variation that would be extremely unlikely w/ an automatic watch), then to face the (also extremely unlikely) battery failure during an exam.
All small stuff, yes, but small stuff that is fairly easy to address, and can help with my comfort when it comes to test time. I liken it to a forced march, anything that rubs or irritates in the first few miles, runs the risk of being a bloody mess at 25+ miles if you do not deal with it (I sereved as a Marine in a infantry unit back in the early 90's).
No need to feel doubt, this is a very structured exam. If you apporach it like any military instructor would apporach a process they were to develop a training class for. Identify the elements, break down their functions to the simplest instructions you can, then drill the troops on these instructions. As progress is made, then start combining the pieces and you will be ready to roll. Even though you will be busy, you have enough time to perform a deep dive and get a really good look at how this is put together.