10 Tips to Master Standardized Testing

January 19, 2017

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The next ACT available to take is in March. Photo Credit: Shannon Flaharty/ Achona Online

Standardized testing is perhaps one of the most dreaded components of a junior and seniors years of high school. While taking the ACT will most likely never be a preferred way to spend Saturday morning, below are ten tips to help make standardized testing easier.

1.Practice/study on your own

Whether this means getting a tutor or simply taking practice tests at home, prepare for the SAT and ACT well in advance prior to the actual test date. Also, take advantage of the ACT Prep class that Academy provides. The more practice tests taken that are structured like the SAT and ACT, the more familiar the format will be, and in result there will be no surprises on the day of the actual test.

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2.Start taking the tests as early as possible

It is statistically proven that students do better on standardized tests with each time they take them. Start taking the tests as soon as possible so the stress of testing can be eliminated from an already hectic senior year. Most colleges also super-score tests, so it is only an advantage to take each test multiple times. However, colleges typically like to see students take each exam around three times, so don’t go crazy and take them an unnecessary amount of times.

Senior Kendall Perez says, “I was taking the SAT in November of my senior year and there was a girl in my classroom who was also a senior and taking it for the first time. I was stressed out for her.”

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3.Take it the same day as friends

Take standardized tests at schools where friends will be taking it to create a more relaxed environment and help settle any nerves before the exam and

Senior Vanessa Alvarez says, “You can’t take your phone out, so the breaks can be awkward when you’re alone. Especially for those people who need a sense of familiarity, taking the test at the same schools as your friends can help settle nerves before the exam.”

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4.Prepare your stuff the night before

Upon waking up the morning of the test, relieving any and all stress is very important. Packing pencils, charging a calculator, and printing the student information sheet the night before the test makes the morning much less stressful and prevents panic cause by not being able to find something in the morning or having to worry about forgetting anything.

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5.Go to sleep early

Make sure to get enough sleep the night before the exam. The goal while taking the exam is to be as focused as possible; getting enough sleep will ensure a refreshed feeling and motivated attitude in the morning.

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6.Dress comfortably

One of the last things to be worrying about when taking standardized tests is appearance. Dressing as comfortable as possible when taking the exams is very important, making it easier to relax and focus on the exam.

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7.Eat a good breakfast

Eating a good breakfast in the morning sets your body up for the rest of the day by increasing your concentration, metabolism, and energy levels. Also, always bring a snack to eat during the breaks provided during the test.

Senior Marie DelaCruz says, “One time I didn’t eat breakfast before I took the SAT and my stomach was growling the entire test. It was so awkward and made it harder to concentrate as well.”

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8.Exercise

Even if it means just a few sit ups after waking up, exercise before going to take the exam. Exercising in the morning improves metabolism, increases physical and mental energy throughout the rest of the day, and is the best natural way to shake off sleepiness.

Sophomore Fallon Flaharty says, “The first time my brother took the ACT my dad drove him to a parking lot, made him get out of the car and chase it around the parking lot for a while, and then took him to the test.”

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9.Get there early

Not only does running late cause a ton of easily avoidable stress, but it is also inconsiderate to everybody else taking the exam. Some teachers will wait for students running late to begin the exam, and some just will not even let the student take the test. Set multiple alarms and plan time accordingly so there is no chance or running late.

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10.Stay Calm

The tests will be over before you know it and are not as bad as they seem. Have confidence and do not overthink or panic. Everything will be fine.

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