Test-Taking Tips

The list below may be useful as you prepare for the day of the test interview.

  • Relax. You should do whatever helps you to relax and feel confident prior to the interview. It is normal to be nervous. If necessary, stop during the interview for a few seconds to regain your composure. You may wish to admit that you are nervous and joke about it; often this is enough to make you comfortable again. During the interview, you will be asked to communicate in American Sign Language about a variety of subjects. At times, the interviewer will need to interrupt you to move to another topic or question in order to complete the entire interview; this does not reflect on the quality of your responses.
  • Use the ASL signs with which you are most comfortable. You will want to demonstrate your best American Sign Language in the interview; therefore, you should show your best signing of American Sign Language, which is assessed by the TASC–ASL. Interviewers will sign in American
    Sign Language only; they will not match other sign systems that you may employ.
  • Sign at a speed that is comfortable for you. If you know that you have difficulty when you sign fast, plan to sign more slowly so that you can be confident in the interview and reduce the number of signing errors.
  • Use both short and long signed sentences. Short and long responses are appropriate because both are common in conversation. You are not making a public speech. Short sentences can reduce the chance that you will get lost in the middle of your thought and may help you to relax, giving the impression of ease, confidence and skill. Long sentences can convey the full meaning of your thoughts. Both lengths of sentences add to the richness of your communication.
  • Keep signing. Keep the conversation flowing. You are trying to demonstrate your best performance. Don’t stop the conversation about a topic by simply giving a “yes” or “no” response. Expand on your thoughts and give complete responses to questions that are asked. Give details, explain your point(s), develop your thoughts and make comparisons. Avoid signs whose meanings and/or usage are not clear to you. If you have difficulty signing exactly what you wish to say, think of another way to say it and keep signing. If you can’t think of a sign, use another sign or mime it.
  • Stop. Think. If you are lost in a long sentence or draw a blank, let the interviewer know that you are going to start over, or that what you are trying to convey may be complicated.
  • Don’t worry about finding the “right” answer. Questions are intended for you to demonstrate your American Sign Language proficiency. This includes your range of communication, comprehension and intelligibility (which includes fluency, vocabulary/grammar and use of space). Questions are not intended to test your factual knowledge. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers.
  • Correct your mistakes. If you make a mistake, correct it and continue. Mistakes are expected. Do not worry about what happened. Worrying about a mistake may distract you during the interview. Focus on signing in American Sign Language rather than on the content of your response. Don’t try to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of a subject. It is not what you know that is of greatest importance, but how well you signed the information you know in American Sign Language.
  • Ask questions. Ask questions of the interviewer if you need to clarify your understanding. It is not a reflection on your signing ability to ask questions. This is a common practice in conversation. If you think you understand what was asked, respond confidently. If you make a mistake, correct it and continue. Alert your interviewer to anything that may be interfering with your signing. If the air conditioner or lighting bothers you, say so. If you can’t see the interviewer clearly, say so. We want you to have the best possible interview conditions.
  • Monitor your feelings about how the interview is going. If you feel the interview is too easy, try to sign on a higher level to be sure you are demonstrating your highest level of skill in American Sign Language. If you feel the interview is becoming difficult, it is normal: you are near the level where you begin to feel the pressure. The interviewer cannot gauge your highest level unless you are challenged and asked to go beyond it.