It is the night before SAT, and you feel the world is coming to an end. Your heartbeat increases, and the fear of the unknown sets in. you aren't happy with this state of mind. But you have concluded that there is nothing you can do about it as you have tried many options to no avail.
Your parents may have told you to calm down. But that isn't helping issues. You know you have a lot to deal with the next day. So how can you cope without letting stress take the better part of you?
SAT day is stress filled day for many students. And it usually causes high levels of anxiety. Anxiety is a human emotion inbuilt in us to keep us prepared for threats and the unknown. A small amount of anxiety could keep you on your toes and alert. But too much of it is not good for your health.
Many students experience a high level of anxiety the night before their SAT exam. However, refusing to write your SAT isn't the solution. Running away isn't either. You have to face it and learn the best way to wade off anxiety and deal with stress SA
Earlier this month, the KS2 standardised achievement tests (SATs) dominated the lives of thousands of 10 and 11-year-olds across the UK. For the second year in a row, children were tested on the new, tougher curriculum.
Despite the Government trying to emphasise that the results are not qualifications and don’t affect children’s future options, increasingly more and more youngsters are feeling the pressure of these assessments.
So how can we as parents help ensure that these assessments don’t place undue stress and anxiety on them?
Keep a Good Routine
In the build up to the SATs make sure that your child is eating well, sleeping well, drinking lots of water and keeping active. This will reduce stress and aid concentration. It is also important that your child doesn’t work too hard and ‘burn out.’
Avoid side-lining their extra-circular activities in favour of extra revision. Hobbies, such as playing a musical instrument, attending a dance class or playing for a football team, can be great for stress relief.
Use Targeted Revision
Whilst parents are encouraged to support their children’s learning throughout the year, preparation for SAT week itself can be key to reducing anxiety. Help your child plan their revision time effectively and work through practice test papers at home together. This will not only help cement their learning but will also help you to understand the types of questions that might be asked.
Spending time practicing how to answer questions (using marking schemes as reference) can also be key, as often it is more than just straightforward subject knowledge that SATs examiners are looking for.
To structure revision, schools often offer Easter holiday SAT classes or school-led Saturday classes and some parents may also choose to send their child to a private tutor. Tutors can play an important role in preparing children for SAT as outlined by one of the tutors registered with The Tutor Pages.
By talking to your child about the upcoming exams, and therefore normalizing them, you will help reduce their fear of the unknown. However, bear in mind not to place too much importance on the actual results; children’s desire to make their parents proud can often be the cause of their anxiety.
If you see any sudden behavioral changes in your child and become concerned over their general well-being, try to speak to them as openly about it as possible. Charity YoungMinds provides a survival guide for any parent who is worried about their child.
The first step to alleviating SAT stress is to eliminate the immediate symptoms f anxiety you may already be experiencing. This may include tightness of the chest and back, pain in the back, lack of sleep, jumbled thoughts, and shortness of breath.
Depending on your situation, the symptoms of anxiety and stress aren't friendly, and for many, they may keep experiencing such symptoms long after the test is over.
Us at least five seconds to breathe deeply. Repeat this step until you observe that you are no longer panicking. Next, flex your muscles as much as you can and pull your hands backward. Then, squeeze your shoulders as if you want to use them to grab a pencil. After doing these, you should feel better and be able to control your thoughts and focus as well.
This is extremely important, not just the night before the SAT, but you must make it a habit whether you have a test to write or not. Many medical experts have opined that adequate sleep is necessary for stress management and to increase concentration.
After a long sleep each night, your brain will be prepared for the day's tasks. You will also observe the ease with which you can think creatively and produce solutions to your everyday problems.
On the other hand, failing to have enough sleep each night may be disastrous for your health. Many students who failed to have enough sleep several nights or even the night before SAT could attest to how they felt disorganized during the test.
Lack of sleep could cause headaches, dizziness, lack of focus, and even memory loss. In addition, for older adults, lack of sleep could result in high blood pressure if not controlled.
If you have trouble sleeping because you are probably thinking about your upcoming test, try listening to classical music or reading a book before bedtime. It also helps to avoid thinking about SAT during the best time.
Eat Well and Enough
It is essential to be careful about what you eat. It is not just when preparing for a test such as SAT, but it will do you well to infuse it in your daily habits. Consuming so much sugar will lead to sugar highs and lows, which could be beneficial and detrimental.
On the other hand, eating enough fruits and vegetables will supply you with the proper nutrients you need to live healthily. Remember that a healthy body system aids the proper functioning of the brain, which is needed for creative thinking, cognitive functioning, and memory development.
It is also essential to eat the right amount of food. Avoid consuming an excess of sugar at the expense of other needed nutrients. Ensure your body has enough energy, protein, water, and vitamins to help you throughout your daily activities.
Anxiety thrives when your body needs something that you ought to have. While preparing for SAT, your body could easily overcome the stress and anxiety that results if it is supplied with the nutrients it needs. This will help to fight off depression, anxiety, pain and even promote memory boost.
Practice SAT in a Clean Environment
Ensure the environment you choose for practicing and studying for SAT is very conducive and safe. Remember that you will be calling on these memories when you are writing the test. So ensure you do not study in a dangerous place or a noisy place.
Also, ensure your environment is conducive to learning. It is not compulsory to use your bedroom. If you feel it is not conducive enough, move to a more appropriate place. A noisy environment filled with distractions could impair the effectiveness of your study.
And could even make you forget what you read so soon.
Perform a Pre-test Ritual
A pre-test ritual is any situation that helps you to assume you were writing the actual test and predict your exact behavioral pattern in the real test. To do this successfully, you can think of something that will help you prepare your mind for the actual test.
Experiment with something or any situation that could make you anxious or trigger fear. Then observe your reaction and plan how to control it afterward. The most important thing is to feel prepared for the test and give it your best shot when it arrives.
You could check out for free SAT prep checklist and download them to your device. These checklists will help you prepare your mind for the test. In case you forget anything, the list could also serve as a reminder.
It is essential to know that checklists are not exhaustive. Therefore, endeavor to do research even up to the night before your test. That way, you will know what is expected of you during the test and how to conduct yourself while writing to maximize your time and make the most of your memory.
Prepare the Night Before
Your child can reduce SAT stress if they prepare all their gear the night before the test. It doesn't make sense to figure out what to take or leave at home on the morning of the test. This could increase your anxiety level and could make you lose concentration too.
When you prepare all your gear for the test the night before, and you wake the following day, you will feel less pressure because you know you got everything fixed already. But, as you may already know, a calm spirit is needed for success in SAT.
The night before, you could prepare yourself before going to bed by doing the following:
- Bring out your clothes from the closet and place them on the edge of the bed.
- Pack the necessary items into your bags, such as ID, calculator, snacks, and water
- If you leave far from the test center, ensure you plan out your route before sleeping to avoid confusion the following day.
Take Practice Test
Ensure you take several practice tests before the actual test day. These tests must be under realistic time conditions similar to that of the actual test. That way, you will know what it feels like to sit for an SAT.
You will also know how to answer questions correctly within the set time frame. This could help you ease off stress and give you a fresh outlook towards writing SAT.
What scores do you need to hit to pass your SAT? Do you have a list of schools that you want to apply to? It is essential to know their acceptance score, so you plan how to hit it without stress.
It's important to set target scores for yourself while preparing for SAT., and you don't have to meet up with your target score during the actual test. All you need to do is to get a score within the acceptance range of your school of choice. Knowing this will help reduce your stress level and keep your focus on your goals better.
Get Used to Time Constraints
You will not have all the time in the world to write your test. These tests have tight time constraints, and you must do everything within the set time frame to stay in luck. That is why it is necessary to get used to doing things with little time while preparing for the test.
While studying, practice potential test questions within a short time frame and gauge your performance. See how fast you answer questions correctly with little time versus when you have plenty of time.
Just Do Your best
Perhaps most importantly, children need our reassurance and encouragement to feel proud of themselves and what they have achieved during their time in primary education.
If you can help your child to foster the mind-set that these tests are an opportunity to challenge themselves and demonstrate their learning, it is also great preparation for life at secondary school.
SAT is a major cause of stress for many students. In this article, we revealed some amazing ways your child can overcome SAT stress and ace their performance during the test too.
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