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How to manage test anxiety before the SAT and ACT

Posted by boston.com  October 2, 2013 02:16 PM

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As test day nears, many high school students are feeling the pressure that comes with taking the SAT or ACT.

So how do you lower anxiety to a manageable level?

"Redefine the day," suggests Mindy Popp, college admissions counselor and founder of Popp & Associates, a company that provides college counselling for students and their families.

"For most students, the day they take the SAT or ACT can bring up nervousness or anxiety, and they associate that with the test," Popp said.

She advises students to schedule something positive the day after the test, such as dinner at a favorite restaurant or a shopping trip, as a way to decrease their anxiety.

Popp also has two more pieces of advice for students getting ready to sit down for test day:

1) Place the SAT in the bigger picture and realize it's not going to determine your future. "Students determine their future," she says, and giving too much power to the SAT blows the test out of proportion. College options exist for all kinds of students, including test optional schools.

2) Don't feel pressured by the SAT scores required by your dream school. According to Popp, a "true dream school is one that supports the student."

As the meme says - keep calm and carry on!

Shandana Mufti can be reached at shandana.mufti@globe.com.

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College Bound offers news and advice on preparing, applying, and ultimately heading off to college. Send your ideas and questions to Leslie.Anderson@globe.com. More »
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