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Keep your test day anxiety in check

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The December SAT and ACT test dates are looming, and for many it's the last chance to pull off a great score before applications are due. That additional bit of pressure can turn an appropriate level of jitters into a full on panic attack. Don't let that be you! Here are a few tips to keep your anxiety under control:

  1. Keep everything in perspective. While the media, your friends and your parents may all hype the tests as the key to your future success and happiness, reality is that if you want to go to college, you will go to college. After you enter college, you'll never have reason to think about those scores again, and by the time you hit the ripe old age of 40, you'll have forgotten them entirely. So chill.
  2. Take a deep breath. Literally. When you start to feel the physical symptoms of anxiety (heart beating faster, sweaty palms, headache, etc.), take two or three long deep breaths. Focus on exhaling as slowly as possible. You'll feel more relaxed immediately.
  3. Recognize you have a lot more control over your score than it may seem. So many students take the perspective that the test is out to get them, and it's absolutely the wrong mindset. Unless you've opted to take the test cold (not recommended!), you're prepared. You know what the test looks like, the way questions will be asked, and how to find the area of a circle. Of course, it's impossible to predict EVERY bit of content that might appear, but if you've done your homework you already know a great deal.

Hope that helps a little. While test day may seem like the biggest moment of your life, remember that it's not. Life goes on, and you'll do just fine!

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