Dealing With Stress on the SAT and ACT

Dealing with stress on the SAT and ACT is something which can be very difficult. It is an important part of the college admission process and although some stress is a good thing, as it motivates you to do what is needed in order to succeed, stress can also become detrimental to your health and mental wellbeing. The following  tips can be used leading up to an exam, as well as the day of to help manage your stress and ensure that you remain calm on test day!


1.Leave enough time for sleep

While studying is important, sleep is too. If you do not get enough sleep each night, none of the information you studied will be retained. Check out this article by the National Sleep Foundation for further explanation, as well as to see how much sleep you need a night, and why.

2. Along with that, try to stay on a regular sleep schedule

This way, your body knows what to expect each day.  If you go to bed at 9pm some night and at 2am others, your body will be very confused. A wacky sleep schedule like this will leave you even more tired because your body will not know when you will sleep again. 

3. Eat a well-balanced diet

The saying “you are what you eat” is not just something your parents told you make you eat vegetables. Eating a lot of processed food, or food that is high in artificial takes a lot of work for your body to process. This will make you feel sluggish and tired, which won’t allow you to focus on your test, making you feel anxious and nervous while taking it. Try to avoid excess amounts of sugar, fried foods, and instead opt for vegetables, fruits, and protein. Here are some tips on a balanced diet.

4.Make a study schedule

Keeping a consistent and organized study schedule will allow you to gradually prepare over  along period of time rather than trying to cram the night before. This will make you more confident in your abilities, thus decreasing any stress you may feel on test day! For some help getting a study schedule started, check out this how-to!

5.Slow down and take a few deep breaths when you feel yourself become overwhelmed

This is not only a useful tip for test-taking, but for any time you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Deep breathing has many benefits, including toxin release, anxiety relief, and a clearer mind. In a high stress situation such as taking a standardized test, having a few seconds for yourself to focus on breathing can make an enormous difference in your overall emotional state and attitude.  

6.Avoid stress triggers 

The day leading up to an important test are stressful enough, and there is no need to add more stress to your life. If you know there are certain things which will cause you to unnecessarily stress out, avoid them at all costs. This could include a friend you always fight with, an activity which will take away study time, or anything else that will make you stress more than you need to.

7.Remind yourself that a bad grade on one test is not the end of the world.

At the end of the day, it is only a test. However important it may be, you can always retake it! Do not let yourself get dragged down by the prospect of not doing well. Instead, use that as motivation to study hard and do the best you can!


Good luck!


Amanda De Moraes

Boston Tutoring Services

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