Standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, are famous for inducing angst.
Even though some colleges no longer require you to take the SAT, and others agree that your scores are only a portion of your total credentials, standardized tests still rank high on the anxiety meter.
How can you sharpen your skills for both the standardized test and for college classes
PREPARE! Standardized test courses, workbooks and online courses are plentiful and come in a wide variety of formats. Do your research. Check with your school counselor. And as Shakespeare says, know thyself! How do you learn best?
If you need the discipline of a weekly course, then that’s your route. Some students prefer an online course that offers a more flexible schedule and immediate feedback with detailed answer explanations. Whatever program you decide to do, commit to it. Get into the rhythm of answering questions, improving your time and increasing your overall confidence.
PRACTICE! When you begin to prepare and practice, you will be able to determine which areas of the test require the most study. Use your time to concentrate and focus on these particular areas. Practice really does increase your ability and skill.
SET A GOAL! You can’t achieve any goal unless you have set one. Setting a goal for your test score is the first step to achieving it. Set a target score by finding the incoming class’s average test scores on your dream school’s Web site, with an admissions counselor or with help from your school counselor.
RELAX! You know much more than your anxious mind is telling you! Since you first picked up a book and learned how to read, you have been preparing for the standardized tests. A relaxed mind and good breakfast go a long way in eliminating the silly mistakes that occur through anxiety.
Cynthia Bassett is an adjunct English professor at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y., and owner of BassettSATPrep.com.