Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hanging tough

It's early on a cold, rainy Sunday morning in Chicago. The calendar declares that "spring" has begun, yet the snow-covered ground plus my hat and gloves still point hard toward winter. It's easy to get discouraged on a day like this, to give up on being productive and start planning an elaborate afternoon revolving around deep dish pizza, DVDs, the Sun-Times, and a seldom-used sofa that's just crying out to be broken in this afternoon.
But no. That's not how things go in general. Yesterday, with cold wind and a wet snow pelting my face, I ran 4 miles through a local cemetery. Today, I'll give myself a break and merely work myself into a sweaty stupor at the local gym. Most test prep companies have dozens of writers and editors churning out their exam manuals and practice questions, but at Pass the Test, there is only one person producing all the practice questions, books, audio cd's, DVDs, and on-demand classes. In two days, that person is going to be 46 years old, which is why that person needs to stay in shape. A little rain and snow? Dress for the weather and snarl at the elements. A little tired on a Sunday afternoon? Sounds like a trip to the gym is in order.
The Series 7 is mostly an endurance event. You might think of it as one test, but it's really equivalent to a semester of college, 12-15 credit hours' worth of hard work. You need to be in shape physically, mentally, and emotionally for this challenge. I can't think of a better time to start an exercise routine. To start drinking more water than coffee, to start eating more vegetables and fewer potato chips, and to start cooking rather than ordering meals. The 3-4 months it will take to study for your exam would be a great time to start spending more time exercising than watching television. No time? Listen to our audio lectures as you walk, ride, run, etc. Our ExamCram questions will soon be available as an I-phone application; maybe you could ride the exercise bike while working practice questions a few times each week. Talk about getting the mind and body in shape!
The Series 7 involves a lot more than scheduling a test date, skimming a big, thick textbook, taking a few practice questions, and expecting to pass. Unless you're a genius, that approach will lead to a 30-day stay in the penalty box. If you think it's stressful studying for your first attempt, imagine the stress you'll feel studying after you've already failed the thing. With your company threatening to fire you and your bills piling up left and right. On the other hand, if you take a holistic, disciplined, diligent approach to this endurance event, success is almost assured.
So, what's it going to be?

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