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Feeling stressed about standardized tests? You’re not alone. The SAT and ACT can feel overwhelming, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can approach them with confidence and achieve your desired scores. These tips offer practical strategies for reducing stress and achieving your academic goals.


  1. Create a Plan of Attack:
  • Create a study schedule: Map out your weak areas and dedicate specific time slots to tackle them. Prioritize effectively, spending more time on areas that need the most improvement.
  • Take practice tests: Assess your strengths and weaknesses by taking practice exams. Identify your problem areas and focus your studies accordingly.
  • Seek help when needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out to tutors, counselors, or online resources if you need extra support. Sylvan Learning offers valuable test prep resources and experienced tutors to guide you.
  1. Master Time Management:
  • Pace yourself: Practice exams help you understand how much time to allocate for each question and section. Don’t rush; remember, skipping a question and returning later is okay.
  • Prioritize accuracy: Don’t get caught up on difficult questions. Answer the ones you’re confident about first. If you are unsure of a question, circle it (or mark for review if you are taking a digital test), then tackle it later. This way, you don’t run out of time focusing on more complex questions up front and then potentially be unable to answer questions that you could have quickly answered correctly.
  1. Set Realistic Goals:
  • Target your score: Research average scores for your desired colleges and set achievable goals for yourself. Remember, a perfect score isn’t always necessary.
  • Focus on improvement: Celebrate your progress, even small victories. Track your score improvements over time to stay motivated.
  1. Stay Calm and Collected:
  • Relax the night before: Avoid cramming and get a good night’s sleep. A well-rested mind performs better under pressure.
  • Take deep breaths: Feeling nervous is normal. Take a few deep breaths before the test and throughout to calm your nerves and focus your mind.
  • Positive self-talk: Believe in yourself and your abilities. Remember that you’ve prepared well and are ready to give it your best shot.

By following these tips, students can navigate the SAT and ACT journey with confidence and success. Remember, preparation and a positive attitude are key to achieving your desired scores and moving closer to your academic goals.

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