ACT / SAT Tips for Students Who Don’t Test Well

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If you’re nervous or unsure of yourself when it comes to the ACT or SAT, you’re not alone. Many students don’t test well, but, for most, one of these standardized tests is required for college admission so it’s something high school juniors and seniors can’t avoid. These tips can help you better prepare for your upcoming ACT or SAT test date.

Prepare for the ACT / SAT Properly

While you may have to memorize dates and facts when it comes to history or English classes and their tests, this is not the case when it comes to your ACT or SAT. You won’t be asked about facts, but rather tested on your comprehension, math, and critical thinking. Many students make the mistake of thinking that because they do well in high school classes they will automatically do well on the SAT or ACT.

No matter what category you fall into, studying is a must. You may want to work with a tutor, teacher, or fellow student to prepare, but also use online resources to understand exactly what you should be preparing for.

Take a Lot of Practice Tests

One of the best things you can do if you don’t test well is taking a lot of ACT or SAT practice tests. Whether you don’t do well under time constrictions, are not confident in math or another subject, or tend to overthink questions, this strategy is a must. This will help you become familiar with the format, the type of questions asked, and the specific time limits. It may also help you decide whether the ACT or the SAT is the better exam for you.

Once you’ve completed a practice test, go over your answers and review the questions you got wrong. They may point you in towards a specific weaker area in your thinking, timing, or education. Now is the time to go over those sections and study hard. Once you feel confident or want to see how you’ve improved, take another practice test.

Use Relaxation Techniques

If you get stressed or anxious before an exam, you’re not alone. It’s absolutely normal, especially before a big test like the SAT or ACT. However, if your stress is affecting your test scores or your ability to concentrate, you’ll want to take advantage of relaxation techniques.

You should do some testing prior to find what relaxation techniques work for you, if you don’t already have some. Some may benefit from listening to music, while others enjoy sitting quietly or even meditating. A few deep breaths may also do the trick for other students exercise, yoga, reading, driving, or laughing can also be beneficial. Find what works for you before your test date and try doing these techniques before you head inside. 

The ACT and the SAT don’t have to be nerve wracking, even if you don’t normally test well. Preparing properly with plenty of practice tests can help you get ready when it comes to scoring well on the test, while relaxation techniques can assist in reducing any anxiety felt before exam time comes up.

Check out how your ACT/SAT scores affect your acceptance odds with College Raptor!

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