Greetings, ATC families!
I know the transition from summer to school isn’t the easiest, but I hope students are settling in with new school supplies (somehow, it helps!) and a stimulating first week of classes. We’re busy gearing up for the September ACT exam at ATC, which is many of our students’ first official test. Here are some tips for what to expect on your child’s first ACT or SAT test, whether it occurs in September or April.
The first test is like the first pancake--it usually comes out a little different than expected.
Even if a student takes a full proctored test at home or at our office, there’s nothing like the real thing. It’s unnerving taking the test in a large group setting, bubbling official answer sheets, and of course, sending results to actual colleges. It’s totally normal for students to feel a heightened anxiety before the first test, which is often exacerbated by the pre-test routine (and early wake-up call). This is why we consider the first test to be part of the test prep experience and we caution parents and students: do not expect to be “one and done.” If it happens, great, but more often than not, the first test is a good way to prepare for test-day nerves.
Bring snacks and water.
And eat a good breakfast! Check out our instagram account @academictutoringcenters for our favorite pre-test overnight oats recipe. But seriously, this is a good time to eat protein, carbs, and sugar--bring something that will give you energy: a protein bar with chocolate or a nut butter and jelly sandwich. Gum and mints are good brain stimulators, too!
Don’t forget to breathe.
Sometimes, when we’re under duress, especially in a time crunch, we forget to save a few seconds for a deep breath. This is essential, especially if students feel themselves getting stymied by the test at any point. Even though the clock is ticking, nothing is going to help more in those moments than closing your eyes, taking a breath, and pausing for a mental break. If you’re interested in more mindful test-taking strategies like this, feel free to book a session with our resident mindfulness expert, Ellie.
Avoid talking about the test, both during and after the exam.
I know it’s tempting, but trust me on this one. Use the breaks to eat and refocus before the next section. And after the test, don’t dwell--go do something fun!
Sign up for the next one.
Wait ten days for the results, or just sign up. Either way, for both parents and students, knowing all of the eggs aren’t in one basket (I’m mixing my breakfast metaphors here) is a healthy approach to any test.
Wishing you the best in September from all of us at ATC!
Registration for the October ACT is now open! Register here
Don’t forget to share your September ACT scores with us!
Our winter schedules are getting full, so if you’re planning ahead for fall exams or classes, it’s never too early to set up appointments!