Nearly every student who comes to me for test prep is battling one thing: text anxiety. Even if you have a weak grasp of pronoun rules or have forgotten most of your pre-algebra, even if you’ve never had test anxiety in any other testing situation, the anxiety is there.
It makes sense: No one likes to be judged. Some students struggle with perfectionism. Others believe that the ACT/SAT is crucial to getting into the right college and therefore having a happy life. (Nothing could be further from the truth.) So here are some ways you can manage test anxiety.
In terms of standardized tests, if your score isn’t what you want, then go back and practice some more. But I would also suggest that you think long and hard about why you want an astronomical score. Just to see if you can do it? Then there should be no stress; you’re only competing against yourself. To get into your dream school? If your score is in the ballpark and the rest of your application is strong, a point here or there won’t make or break you. Focus your energies on the other parts of your application. If you’re nowhere near, we need to talk about refocusing your application strategy. Everyone can get into their best fit school, one where they will thrive academically, socially and financially. Probably you haven’t even met your best fit yet.
Lessa Scherrer is an college admissions consultant who has worked with college-bound students for many years. She is a member of NACAC and WACAC and also teaches ACT Prep, speed-reading, college study skills and college-level writing.
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