This is the first piece in a series of entries chronicling my journey through the RPLU program.  Follow my blog as I write about my thoughts and experiences while going through the program.

Drew Brees’ pregame chant has become one of the most famous pre-game sports rituals of all time.  The electric cheer fires up his team and fans as they prepare for battle on the field.  This act is repeated before every game and has turned into a superstitious ritual for Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Many athletes and teams have unique routines they follow to get ready for competition:

  • Baseball player Wade Boggs used to eat chicken before every game.  Interesting note – Boggs played in 2,440 games over his 18 year professional career. Can you imagine how many chickens he consumed while playing baseball?
  • Boston Celtics Guard Ray Allen has a very strict pregame routine which includes a pregame meal of rice and chicken (are you seeing a theme here?), followed by a fresh head shaving.  I wondered why his head was always so shiny!
  • NFL defensive lineman John Henderson has the team trainer slap him in the face as hard as he can.  I don’t know if I want to be his opponent when he is angry!

“The 10 Funniest Pregame Rituals” from Bleacher Report.

These superstitions can carry over to more than just sports.  In fact, the same principles can apply to the RPLU test taking process.  I generally follow a pretty simple schedule when taking an RPLU exam.  There have been numerous studies done that show the effectiveness of applying routines. I will not discuss this in detail for this entry but feel free to Google it if you are interested in learning more.

First things first, I make sure I am adequately prepared for the exam (this will be discussed in future blog entries).  It will do me no good to go through a test day routine if I haven’t read the material thoroughly.

I typically register to take my exams at a Prometric testing site near my house on Monday mornings.  This allows me to do any last minute cramming over the weekend and feel prepared for the exam.

I set my alarm for about 7 AM for an 11AM test.  It’s important to feel rested and alert while taking the exam – that’s why I always make an extra large and strong pot of coffee that morning.  After a healthy breakfast (with or without chicken), I try to spend 1 – 2 hours that morning on some last minute reviewing.

Even though it only takes approximately 30 minutes to drive to the testing site, I try to leave my house about one hour before my scheduled test time, just in case I run into bad traffic (which isn’t uncommon in Chicago).  I might even try to do a couple more minutes of studying in the parking lot if I arrive early.

The last part of my routine might sound a little quirky – I’m extra friendly with the test administrator.  It’s always nice to see a smile before a potentially stressful hour of test taking!

When the test is all said and done, I have a propensity to rejoice with a touchdown celebration.  For me, there is nothing better than “Tebowing” in the parking lot after passing an RPLU exam!

Feel free to comment below about your pre and post test rituals.

About the blogger:

Joe Catalano is an Underwriting Specialist with the Community Banks team at CNA. He underwrites executive liability, cyber liability and fidelity coverages for banks with under $3B in assets. Prior to joining CNA, Joe was a private and non-profit management liability underwriter in Zurich’s Management Solutions Group. Previously, Joe was an Associate in Zurich’s college training program where he was exposed to many different aspects of the insurance industry, including risk engineering, claims and underwriting for P&C lines.

Joe is a 2007 graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Finance. He has completed 5 RPLU modules and plans to finish the program in the next 12 months.

Joe lives in Naperville, IL with his wife Kristin, dog Bruno, and cat Max. They are expecting their first child this summer. In his free time, he enjoys training for triathlons, home brewing beer and playing golf.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not represent the views or opinions of CNA.