5 Study Tips to Beat SAT and ACT Test-Taking Anxiety

With the next ACT and SAT exams just around the corner, it’s crunch time for high school/secondary school students to prepare for the tests. Whether your teen has been doing ACT and SAT prep for years, months, weeks or is just getting started, here are 5 tips to help them beat test-taking anxiety on the big day:

1. Have a Plan of Attack. Make sure your student creates a detailed study schedule for the next few weeks. Have them get a calendar and map out one or two areas that they will focus on each day. Encourage them to spend the most time on their weakest subjects. If they improve in these areas, they’ll feel more confident and relaxed when test day rolls around.

2. Know Where You Need to Focus. A good way for students to know where to begin is to take a practice exam and see where their scores could be the most improved. If they’re a math wiz but not so hot with vocabulary, they should spend more time going through flashcards to learn the most used words on the exam.

If you’re not sure how to help your child strengthen his or her weak areas, contact your local Sylvan center for more information on test prep. Sylvan offers practice tests, and our tutors can work with your child to improve scores!

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3. Practice Time Management. There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed during a test. Students should know how many questions are in each section and use practice exams to pace themselves. Determining how long it generally takes to answer different types of questions will help them avoid rushing in the final minutes of a section. They should keep in mind that it’s OK to skip around and that they get just as many points for answering an extremely difficult question as they do an easy one.

4. Set a Target Score. If your student’s dream school has an average SAT score of 650 Math for admittance, they won’t need to answer all of the questions to achieve this score. In fact, it may even be in their best interest to increase their accuracy by spending more time on fewer questions.

5. Relax. Rather than stressing out the night before the test, allow your student to kick back and spend time with family and friends. Watching a movie before getting to bed early is a great way to unwind and make sure they’re well rested. Have them put together a bag with all of the items they’ll need for the test (an approved calculator, No. 2 pencils, registration ticket, photo ID, watch, snacks and drinks for breaks) so they’ll feel prepared and ready to go on the morning of the test!

Remember, practice makes perfect and the earlier your teen starts preparing, the better.

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