Many students experience some form of test anxiety, especially among students taking the SAT or ACT. Because of the pressure placed on college admissions, it is common to be stressed out about these “big” tests. Fortunately, students can work with our tutors at Christianson Tutorials when they are experiencing test anxiety, and they will help them work through it to perform at their highest level. When our tutors notice signs of anxiety, they’ll have the students focus on practice tests and lessons to help them prepare for test day.
Here are several tips to help students handle the anxiety that may come with taking tests:
Be prepared: Students can study more, take practice tests (i.e. practice SAT or ACT tests), and learn their material well while in class, tutoring sessions, or in cram courses. However, do not try to cram the night before the test; this can result in more stress and anxiety.
Avoid distractions while studying: Text messages, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, video games, email, and other electronic distractions tempt students away from their studies. The best thing to do is turn off cell phones and retreat to a quiet place, like the library, to study.
Breathe and relax: If your heart is racing, you’ll have even more trouble concentrating. Do not overthink the test questions, instead, remember your preparations and implement them come test day. If you feel yourself becoming anxious during the test, try focusing on positive images, praying, or meditating to refocus.
Get good sleep and eat a good meal: Tiredness and hunger is distracting. Make sure you are well-rested and well-fed (but not too full) before heading out for your big test.
Students should know that they are not alone in experiencing some test anxiety. Most students do not go into the test with full confidence. But a few nerves on test day are okay, students can still perform at their highest potential. Continue to work with the tutor, take practice tests and/or cram courses, and study the way that works best for you. And remember, the SAT or ACT is only a test – it does not define your worth or even your true academic ability. Keep the big picture in mind.
If the student’s test anxiety is severe, he or she should consider seeking professional help. Start by talking with the school guidance counselor, and they can help direct the student toward additional resources.