Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
    (1964-1969)
  • Stanford University
    (1969-1984)
  • Princeton University
    (1988-2003)

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    (1966-1977)
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    (1977-1987)
    International Office Director
    (1987-2002)

Dealing with the Pressure of Test Day

SAT
Guest Columnist

When it comes to taking a standardized test, many students feel the pressure with startling results. For a great number, the future could be quite literally hang in the balance. There is certainly no shortage of programs available to help increase vocabulary and test taking abilities, but even the strongest individuals have been known to cave under pressure. Continue reading strategies for dealing with test day stress and anxiety.

Dream Big – Visualize Success

This is a practice used by people the world over. See yourself taking the test and breezing through it effortlessly. You have studied and worked hard for this very moment and it is your time to shine. Tune all of the pressure out and focus on what dreams will come once you have performed well on the test. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Disconnect, Disengage, and Focus

This may at first sound counter-intuitive, but it is a great thing to do before getting ready to take a standardized test. Stay at home, disconnect, and focus on what needs to be done. Don’t engage in any activities besides taking care of yourself the night before and the morning of your test. Turn off the cell phone, stay off the internet, and refrain from participating in anything that could ultimately distract you.

Get Plenty of Sleep the Night Before

While it may be very difficult to get sleep the night before something as important and life-changing as a standardized test, it is very important to get eight or more hours of sleep. A well-rested mind could mean the difference between success and failure and a tired mind will operate clumsily in the cloud of fatigue.

Eat a Good Breakfast

Food can help ease your nerves, regardless of your fear of nausea being a main result of eating. Oatmeal, nutrition bars, or just plain cereal are better for you than showing up to take a stressful test on an empty stomach. Don’t allow hunger to be your main distraction come test time.

Silence is Golden

Take a few moments to yourself at the testing center to sit quietly and get your bearings. Stay calm and get in line when you’re ready. If you’re early, do your best to refrain from idle chatter by staying out of the way until the line starts moving and people are being sent to their respective rooms.

Any time throughout the test that you are feeling stressed, remember to take some deep breaths and realign your focus as necessary. The test may be scary, but it will be over soon enough.

By-line:
This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of a recognized online university. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

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