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Leveling Up On The Ice Find out what it takes to participate in a United States figure skating test session. //BY SHANNON PRICE

Test sessions are an aspect of figure skating that casual spectators do not get to see, but to figure skaters, they are a vital part of their daily routine. On October 7th, the Cutting Edge Figure Skating Club hosted a test session at the Lakeview Recplex, and there is a lot more to this testing than meets the eye.

When a skater wakes up on the day of a test session, the first thing she or he does to get ready is to make themselves look good for the judges. Antioch Community High School sophomore and regional level figure skater Chloe Hampson explains her pre-test routine."Well, first, you have to get dressed," Hampson said. "Makeup, hair, look pretty." Typically, that means putting on a nice, plain dress and putting hair up into a neat bun.

After the proper look is achieved, skaters have to be at the rink an hour before their allotted testing time in order to properly warm up. This typically consists of a short cardio warm up, stretching and, depending on which test they are taking, an off-ice run-through of their routines.

After the off-ice warm-up is over, it's time to get skates on and get ready to test.

Although testing is a nerve-wracking experience for a lot of skaters, it is an extremely important process. "It's how you move up a level when you compete," Hampson said. "You can reach new difficulty and challenge yourself." Skaters need to pass tests and achieve higher-level skill sets on order to move up in the skating world.

Just before they test, skaters will confer with their coaches. The coaches go through all of the details of the test and what the skater needs to remember in order to pass. Coaches not only teach skaters how to do the patterns and skills they need, but also act as a support system.

After that, the only things skaters can hope for is a clean, seamless test. What skaters have to remember is that all of the hard work and practice has been done. All they have to do is show the judges what they've learned and prove they have the skills to move forward and achieve greater things.

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