The Mental Half
The Mental Half is about the mental side of all kinds of performance, including sports, performing arts, high-stress work, test-taking...basically any endeavor where people need to be at their best when the pressure is on. We focus on real-life cases and their solutions.





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March 2019
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Coinciding with a big news story in the last day or two, in which the College Board announced that there will be big changes in the format of the SAT in the future, I talk to Annie Padnuk, who tutors high school students. We talk about her techniques for minimizing the stress that her students experience during the test, and describes how variations in how they prepare can greatly affect their confidence.

Point of clarification: When I asked about some of the families that she works with, she is talking about 2 different families: one prepared the summer before their daughter's junior year; the other is literally planning to take the test for the first time in a few days. Incidentally, she was too busy to be reached for comment.

Annie is at

The Mental Half is a show about the mental part of performance in any endeavor where people want to be at their best when the pressure is on.

Direct download: TMH_003_Annie_2014.3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

  • Very interesting website Mason! I tutor students in tests such as TOEFL, students who have Top TOEIC Scores, who are frozen when it comes to speaking. I have been doing a lot of work with individual students getting their confidence up to par with their actual skills, which are in fact fantastic. If only they would have the courage to believe in themselves. Ironically, society leaves most ill-prepared, for all tests of life for which the mental half is 90 percent of the game: )!

    posted by: Elizabeth Bruce on 2014-03-16 00:10:42

  • Dear Elizabeth, You're teaching Japanese students, right? That was pretty common with the ones I worked with. I think your kindness and warmth are the biggest things. Small goals, feelings of mastery, seeing others succeed...those are the things that will help them with confidence. I'd love to hear more!

    posted by: Mason on 2014-04-09 23:33:00

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