Competition Tips to Help You Make It on Stage

Happy New Year, DECA members! With the holidays and winter break over, the New Year can feel bittersweet. However, the New Year signals the start of competitions! This month, I want to share some tips to help you rock your role-play and ace your cluster exam.

Don’t overthink it.

Upon first glance, the role-play may appear daunting. Just realize that it doesn’t have to be! Focus on breaking it down to identify three key items: the role you will be fulfilling, the task at hand and the role of the judge. These are the most basic pieces of information you need to understand in your role-play. Don’t let the extra information beyond these points confuse you. Keep it simple!

Keep an eye on performance indicators.

After identifying the three essential pieces of information of your case, look at your performance indicators. These are the exact criteria you are being evaluated on! Make sure you pay close attention to each, as overlooking one could cost you up to 20% of you total score, depending on the event. Even if you do not fully comprehend a performance indicator, do your best to mention it in your presentation to cover your bases.

Record yourself.

While going through sample role-plays and reading the grading rubric is helpful, recording yourself as you act out the entire role-play is an even better way to prepare. This will provide an accurate representation of how long you have to prepare and present, while allowing you to reflect on your nonverbal cues and speaking strength. Work on replacing any anxiety with confidence before the real competition. Practicing in front of an audience or camera provides a more realistic scenario that will better prepare you for the competition.

Practice exams in conditions.

Doing a practice exam also is a very effective way to prepare for the real deal. Taking it under realistic testing conditions is even better (i.e. having a time limit and outside exam proctor). While reviewing the answer key, work to understand what you got wrong to be fully prepared for those tricky questions in the future.

Hopefully these tips will give you an edge to help you make it to the stage this competition season. Most importantly, remember to be yourself and find out what works best for you. Study diligently now; it will pay off. Try implementing a few of my tips and get ready to Make It Count in your competitions!

Follow Jack Fenton @DECAJACK.

Categories: Compete, Exam Prep, HS Competitive Events, Presentation Prep, Role-Play, Strategies