SAT Preparation: Tips for Handling Test Stress

Any test can be stressful. Let’s think of a few—a calculus exam, your road test, A COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAM. None are particularly pleasant experiences.  But college entrance exams, like the SAT and ACT, can be even more overwhelming since they mean a bit more than your average test.  While some stress before a test can be beneficial—it can push you to work harder and to put forth your maximum effort— too much test stress and anxiety will certainly take its toll on a student’s test-time confidence. It’s important to be able to manage the stress that comes along with the inescapable knowledge that the SAT and ACT play a significant role in getting you into the college of your choice. Check out a few of our tips for handling the stress:

  • Take Practice Tests: The more comfortable you are with the test, the more prepared you’ll be come the actual test date. Take as many SAT or ACT practice exams as you can to get familiar with format, question types, and your time management abilities.  
  • Get Some Sleep: It’s unlikely that that you’ll learn something the night before the SAT or ACT that will better your performance on the test, so don’t overwhelm yourself the day/night before the big test by taking another full exam or going through your whole deck of vocab flashcards. It’s not going to help, and you don’t want to be falling asleep during the test with your number 2 pencil in hand. Instead get a good night’s rest. You’re armed with A-List’s strategies—a good night’s sleep will pay off far more than any sort of cramming.  
  • Eat a Healthy Breakfast: Your parents were right—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, particularly before the SAT. Get your blood sugar up and your brain functioning most efficiently with a well-balanced breakfast. Plus, you’ll be taking your exam for quite a few hours and you won’t want to be hungry or for your stomach to be grumbling too much in that quiet testing atmosphere!
  • Think Positively: While it may sound corny, believe in yourself and go into the test with a positive attitude. Negative, “I’m going to fail” thoughts will only destroy the confidence you’ve been building throughout your preparation. At this point you’ve done all you can, and now it’s just a matter of applying everything you’ve learned and practiced. Take a deep breath, have an optimistic outlook, and know that you’re to be just fine. And, the worst possible scenario? You take it again.

 

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer, American motivational speaker and author