While traditional test-taking advice includes advice like making sure to sleep well before the night of the exam, reaching early to avoid panic, and making sure that you thoroughly read through every question, this article does not focus on those. Our brain is an extremely powerful organ, capable of processing a huge amount of information in milliseconds. Therefore, it is important to train this powerful organ to allow you to perform to your level-best on these standardized tests.
While students taking the SAT and ACT doubtlessly prepare for the content of the tests, it is also important to prepare for the duration. Both tests last for approximately 3 hours, which can put a huge mental strain on any student. Moreover, it is extremely likely that while you begin the test with full vigour, you might run out of steam towards the end! This is a problem, because while your effort diminishes as the test draws on, the weighting of each section, whether the first or the last, does not change! Therefore, it is essential to be prepared for this long-haul. You may ask how?
The answer lies in an unconventional method. Exercise! Physical exercise provides a tonne of benefits for our physiological well-being, as we already know, but it also provides a boost in terms of our mental health. In a publication developed by the US Department of Health and Human Sources for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, evidence pointed towards exercise prompting greater academic achievement and boosting standardized test scores. A particular benefit is the boosting of short-term memory, which is an essential brain-function which is drawn upon during any standardized test. Therefore, it can be quite beneficial to hit the gym for a short but fun workout, to make you feel better, and to give a possible boost to your endurance level!
The ACT and SAT can affect your emotions as well. The stress and anxiety involved in preparing for a test which is meant to decide your future can play havoc on your mental state. Therefore, building resilience to such negative emotions is a must. An innovative way to do so is through therapeutic storytelling, which involves writing down details about an unfavourable situation, and either creating a positive and well-ending ending for it or noting a particular lesson or life-skill that experience taught you. By converting such unfavourable situations into “stories of strength”, students can instil belief in themselves regarding their capability and ability to face adverse situations head-on.
With so many distractions around us, focus has become a much-needed scarce commodity! Our smartphones house the world’s knowledge; however, they are also one of the prime sources of distraction. Scientists have also come to a conclusion that, even though we pride ourselves in our ability to multitask, we are not so good at it! Taking a detox from social media and your mobile phone can go a long way towards allowing you to develop a strong focus on the task on hand, in this case solving the test. Rather than relying on your smartphone to provide you answers, you should put your brain to use, to further increase involvement and focus. This way, you will make the most efficient use of the time you spend studying.