A lot of students stumble across this blog looking for prep for the SAT and ACT. We do offer a lot of tips on how to prepare for these specific tests, but keep in mind that the preparation and ideas that we share here can be used to handle the stress of your tests in school, as well. Whether you’re sitting down to take a three and a half hour long college entrance exam or a ten minute quiz over the Civil War, there are certain preparations that you can take to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Obviously, studying is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for a test in school. It’s the same with the SAT or ACT – practicing the material that will be covered on the test is the number one predictor of how well you will do. Make flashcards and go over them between classes. Last minute cramming is extremely helpful when it comes to short term memory, so make sure you are studying as close to the test as possible.
Also exactly the same as the SAT or ACT, your levels of stress and anxiety can have a detrimental effect on your scores. Taking steps to lower your anxiety will show an improvement in your scores. Try taking a few deep breaths and accepting the situation before the test. Clear your mind of all distractions – what’s for lunch, what your BFF told you in the hallway, who Grant Smith is or is not talking to. There will be time to think about all of this later. During the test itself, don’t beat yourself up if you zone out for a few minutes. Accept that you are stressed, accept that this is normal, and then try harder to focus on the questions in front of you.
Make sure you eat a good breakfast or lunch. If you’re thinking about your growling stomach, you won’t be focused on the problems in front of you. Ask your teacher if he or she minds you eating a snack in class. Make sure whatever you’re munching on is nutritious. Putting empty calories into your body isn’t going to fuel your brain! Cut up apple slices or bring another fruit.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before, as well. Studies show that a full 8-9 hours of sleep can improve a student’s ability to concentrate. A student’s sleep schedule directly correlates with how well they do in school. If you know you have an important test that you need to do well on the next day, don’t stay out too late with your friends the night before. You don’t want to be tired when you need to think the next day, and you want to avoid any sticky drama right before your exam!
The SAT or ACT is just like any other test, so the tricks you use on those tests can be used on any test! Treat each exam like it’s the most important one you’ll take, and your study habits and your grades will improve!
Written By: Catherine Martin