Meet the Team

John Neville (Hankey), Founder
John founded Mindful Test Taking in 2016 and has been a mindfulness coach for academic students since 2010. He received a B.S. in Mathematical & Computational Science from Stanford University and an M.S. in Financial Economics from the University of Oxford. John is a certified hypnotherapist, master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, registered yoga instructor and medical qigong practitioner. John has been practicing mindfulness daily since 2006.

Heather McClellan, Senior Instructor
Heather is a certified Circling facilitator, an Authentic Relating (AR) head facilitator, and a certified yoga instructor (200 hour). She helped the Austin AR community grow from twenty people in 2013 to over a thousand members. Heather is a 2015 graduate of the Leadership Austin Essential Class. She has a B.A. in English with minors in Biology and Art History, with honors, from the University of Texas at Austin. Heather also holds a summa cum laude A.A.S. in Fashion Merchandising Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.

Meta Lackland, Senior Instructor
Meta is a certified coach and master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). She has been a mindfulness practitioner for 18 years and a transformational coach for 8 years. Meta specializes in somatic techniques to empower her clients to reduce stress and tension. Whether students experience stress when faced with an important standardized test or academic tests in general, students leave feeling calm, grounded and confident in their test taking abilities. Meta received a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions

MTT teaches that progressive relaxation is the fundamental principle of mindfulness. The ability to relax is a learnable skill that provides enormous benefits to one’s health and academic performance.

A classic way to practice progressive relaxation the body scan meditation, where students use their minds to feel and relax their bodies, one part at a time, from head to toe.

Next, MTT incorporates visualization. When students “see” themselves in a test taking situation, their body initially tenses up. With practice, students can learn to stay physically and mentally relaxed during the visualization.

This shift corresponds to a change in how they will feel during the actual test itself.

MTT’s program helps students clear out stress-based patterns before the test even starts.

Students can expect to experience a reduction in stress and anxiety after each coaching session.

Our instructors guide students through mindfulness drills between 5-10 minutes in length and then briefly discuss the impact of the exercise on the student before diving in again.

Students rate their test anxiety on a scale of 0 – 10. Our goal is to reduce this number by about two points every 4-6 weeks. How much of a score increase this stress reduction corresponds to depends on the student and how conscientiously they practice at home.

MTT regularly helps students just days before the test. These students will not undergo our usual intake process. Instead, we jump right in to combining visualization with progressive relaxation.

While enrolling in our program earlier is preferred, most students report noticeable reductions in their stress levels after just a session or two.

In these cases, the student’s response is often: “Thank you so much. I wish I had started sooner but I am so glad I worked with you!”

MTT’s philosophy is called “energetic fitness.” Cardiovascular exercise creates leaner muscles, strength training creates bigger muscles, and energetic fitness creates more relaxed muscles. The body’s circulation, oxygenation and immune system are boosted as a result.

Physical tension and blockages to blood flow contribute to the vast majority of behavioral and health ailments. Unwinding these blockages restores the body’s equilibrium and balance.

This theory is aligned with principles of yoga, Chinese medicine, massage, chiropractic and naturopathic medicine.

All students learn the fundamental way to activate mindfulness awareness in the introductory session, a profound practice that provides practical value for the rest of life. This exercise is called “The Reset.”

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or “tapping” is taught in future sessions and is a trusted practice throughout the program. EFT’s main website receives 10 million hits per year and includes over 5,000 testimonials and case studies.

Many practices involve combining visualization with relaxation. Students who steadily progress through the curriculum can also learn helpful, effective stretching and breathwork exercises designed to boost vitality.

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