The SAT and the ACT are standardized tests that are easy, in case you prepare systematically and work hard and well. However, even an easy path can have many obstructions, and there might be times when you struggle a little in your preparation – where you just can’t remember the meanings of the words you studied a week previously, or where your quant concepts need reinforcement every few days.
If you don’t fix them properly, these can become sources of unwanted stress, and affect both your happiness and your performance. Our decades of experience helping thousands of students ace every kind of standardized test, we have come up with many small, simple things you can do to beat stress before it even rears its ugly head, by which you can concentrate on what is important to crack the test.
Here are our top 5 tips to beat stress for a SAT/ACT aspirant; stay tuned for many more!
1. Chop up your main target (that of a great score) into many small micro-targets
The biggest cause of stress in preparation for any big test like the SAT or ACT is that you sometimes get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what you want to accomplish: you look at the entire portion of study and worry about how you will complete it. But this will not help; all it will do is intimidate. It is much better to have a detailed study plan (something that you will automatically get if you sign up with a coaching partner like Jamboree) and tick off items on that plan one by one.
2. For time management, use your peers to inspire you
It is very important that you do not compete too much, in terms of performance, with your peers and friends – because the SAT/ACT is a long race, not something that will be won or lost overnight. Rather, since everyone can perform well, use them to help you prepare harder, and then all of you can win – it is definitely not a zero sum game.
3. If you feel that you are way behind, use a coach to create a new plan for you
At some times during your SAT/ACT prep, you might feel that you are falling behind on your daily or weekly targets, due to unforeseen circumstances. If this happens over a period of time, you might find that you are quite a distance behind where you wanted to be. In such a case, you should never panic or feel stressed: just go back to your coaches and figure out a different plan, one that will get you to your preparation target by redistributing work intelligently. Do this on priority; if you fall behind due to something that is not under your control, working under an old plan will just make you feel worse, and not actually help you achieve any of your prep targets in time.
4. Look for – and interact with – SAT/ACT success stories
An important part of becoming successful at anything you take up is to immerse yourself in the mindset of success – and this is both about thinking positive and surrounding yourself with those who have been successful at what you aim to achieve. Use the network that your SAT and ACT coaches give you to reach out to seniors who achieved great scores, and talk to them about their prep experience, what they struggled with, how they overcame difficulties, and how they finally succeeded.
5. Even if you have a big problem with some topic, work through it by focusing on your strengths
First, you need to evaluate how important it is, with your teachers who coach you. If it is relatively unimportant, and you need to complete other things first, you can focus on those, and use your strengths there to give you the motivation to come back and work on the chapter which was troubling you. If it is a critically important chapter where you are having problems, you might want to spend some time focusing on that, and fall behind a little in the rest of your plan till you are confident. Finally, whether you decide to postpone or to tackle the problem areas, remember to focus on your strengths for a while every day – they give you a lot of positive energy to keep on tackling the slightly harder topics.
We hope that this special Jamboree in depth feature has served to inspire you, and prove to you that stress can be beaten on any standardized test, even though there will be difficult times. If you would like to learn, on a daily basis, how to keep stress at bay, while still optimizing your study for the SAT so as to have fun with the rest of your life as well, you need to work with someone who has years of experience in helping people tackle the most important standardized tests in the world.