SAT, ACT Test Day Tips and Strategies to Cope With Pressure During Exams


Stress isn't a new phenomenon for high school students, but when it comes to standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, it can bring unique challenges. With the right preparation and mindset, however, students can navigate test day with confidence. Here's how:

SAT, ACT Test Day Tips and Strategies to Cope With Pressure During Exams

(Photo : UNSPLASH / Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu)

1. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are invaluable tools for familiarizing yourself with the format and content of the SAT or ACT. They help reduce surprises and build confidence by simulating the actual testing experience. Whether it's the new digital SAT or the traditional ACT, practicing with official test materials can significantly improve performance on test day.

2. Prioritize Rest and Nutrition

Getting enough sleep and eating a nutritious breakfast are crucial components of test day success. Rested minds perform better, so avoid the temptation to cram the night before. Instead, engage in activities that promote relaxation and mental well-being. A balanced breakfast, rich in protein, provides the energy needed to sustain focus throughout the exam.

3. Pack Essentials and Plan Ahead

Preparation begins the night before. Gather all necessary items, such as pencils, calculator, snacks, and identification, and have them ready by the door. Planning ahead eliminates last-minute stress and ensures a smooth start to test day. Remembering to bring your test ticket, photo ID, and any accommodations documentation is essential for a hassle-free experience.

Strategies for Success During the Test

1. Focus on One Question at a Time

The timed nature of standardized tests can induce anxiety, leading to rushed decisions and errors. Instead of fixating on the clock, concentrate on each question individually. Take your time, read carefully, and prioritize accuracy over speed. Remember, it's better to answer fewer questions correctly than to rush through and make mistakes.

2. Complete Questions You Know First

Don't feel obligated to answer questions in order. If a question seems particularly challenging, skip it and move on to ones you're more confident about. Maximizing your score means capitalizing on your strengths. Flag difficult questions for later review, but don't dwell on them. Trust your instincts and focus on making the most of your time.

3. Take Advantage of Breaks

Both the SAT and ACT offer breaks during the exam. Use this time to recharge and refocus. Stretch your legs, hydrate, and have a snack to maintain energy levels. Remember, a brief moment of relaxation can make a significant difference in your performance during the next section. 

READ ALSO: 3 Best Ways to Prepare for Standardized University Admission Exams 

Maintaining Perspective

It's essential to remember that standardized test scores are just one part of the college application process. While they're important, they don't define your worth or potential. If you don't achieve your desired score, know that you can retake the test or explore test-optional colleges. Ultimately, your success is defined by more than just a number on a test sheet.

As you prepare for test day, approach the challenge with confidence and resilience. With the right mindset and strategies, you can perform your best and achieve your academic goals.

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