The Impact Of Stress When Taking Standardized Tests  

With so much at stake, admissions entrance exams, like the SAT, ACT, or LSAT, naturally cause stress for students.

Some stress is good. It prepares the body to perform challenging activities at a higher level. But too much stress throws the body’s biological functions out of whack, making it far more difficult to perform with one’s true potential. Studies have shown that 60% of students experience significant test stress, negatively impacting scores by over 100 points (Cassady & Johnson, 2002).  

How The Service Works

Most of us prepare for challenging and competitive situations by studying content and practicing technique. Few recognize the profound impact our psychophysiological state can have on our performance. 

We formed BFSD with the recognition that mind and body work together, and we designed our patented mindfulness biofeedback technology to help individuals to manage their stress, optimize their performance and reach their goals in high-stakes activities, such as test taking.

Our biofeedback evaluation and training process identifies a host of mind/body responses that are most crucial during a challenging situation such as test-taking. Our program and practitioners then teach the participant to adjust their responses accordingly. This program is not designed to simply relax the participant, but rather, to identify and help trigger the body response, or “zone”, in which the participant performs optimally. 

During our training, we evaluate the participant’s subsequent performance depending on their body’s response, and using customized approaches, teach each participant to bring him or herself into that zone when the challenging situation is occurring. 

About The BFSD Program

The program consists of eight sessions led by a BFSD certified practitioner using our patented technology. During each session, you will progress through a series of guided exercises while wearing non-intrusive sensors that measure your heart rate, respiration rate, skin conductance, and skin temperature.   

After two evaluation sessions to determine your stress and relaxation profile, we will design a custom program based on your relative strengths and weaknesses. Then, six one-hour sessions of learning and practice follow, consisting of a series of guided exercises progressing along your individual adaptive path. Upon successful completion of this training, you will be armed with a set of individually tailored techniques which help optimize your performance for the target activity and other high stakes activities.

The software includes engaging gameplay environments in which your player’s character responds to actual changes in your biometric readings. Because the program is effective — and fun — you will quickly gain proficiency in your performance optimization techniques.
 
All client work is overseen by Lead Practitioner Dejan Stankovic, Ed.D., BCB.  

Is this a replacement for test prep courses or tutoring?

No. This is not a replacement for test preparation courses or tutoring. Instead, our program complements test preparation by enabling students to make the best of their studying. Top-ranked test prep professionals refer most of our students – especially those students who have practiced extensively but still aren’t reaching their potential because of test stress. By helping our students manage their stress and mentally prepare for the test taking scenario, we enable them to take full advantage of all their prep work. 

How is this biofeedback program different from other biofeedback programs?

BFSD’s proprietary, patented technology was developed in-house by subject matter experts. The program we have developed can only be performed by our practitioners and contains elements not found in any other biofeedback training program. 

When it comes to biofeedback, a generic program simply is not as effective as one tailored to each individual student. In learning to control their psychophysiological state in challenging situations, different people have different learning styles, speeds, and effective techniques. 

Our adaptive training software enables us to create a truly customized program for each participant. Other programs rely on a generic set of exercises that are not designed to meet the specific needs of the user. We test our participants to identify their strengths, weaknesses and learning style, and use that data to inform our training program.

How is this program different from ordinary relaxation techniques?

Relaxation techniques assume all participants need to relax more throughout a challenging situation to reach a state of peak performance. This often isn’t true, but even when more relaxation is called for, these techniques lack any mechanism to scientifically assess when or whether the subject has achieved that sought-after relaxation. 

Our biofeedback evaluation and training process identifies a host of mind/body responses that are most crucial during a challenging situation such as test-taking. Our program and practitioners then teach the participant to adjust their responses accordingly. This program is not designed to simply relax the participant, but rather, to identify and help trigger the body response, or “zone”, in which the participant performs optimally. During our training, we evaluate the participant’s subsequent performance depending on their body’s response, and using customized approaches, teach each participant to bring him or herself into that zone when the challenging situation is occurring.