The ACT can be such a looming task for most students.  We can’t really help you with that.  But we can hopefully make the preparation a bit easier!  This week we’ll be providing a few tips and tricks to help students take on the daunting challenge of college prep testing.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The best way (and really only way) to effectively study for the ACT is to take those practice tests.  There are many online resources that are free for students to take advantage of.  Though it may seem like just another task to add to your never-ending list of to-dos, it will be worth it.

Do Something that Makes You Laugh

Studies have shown that the endorphins that are released when you laugh have a positive influence on test taking.  Instead of frantically cramming or simply stressing yourself out, watch a funny movie, hang out with friends, or just do something that will make you smile.  You may find that you are much more successful when you are happy.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

While you should take time to have fun, be sure to get to bed early.  Lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus, causing you to make mistakes you might otherwise would have avoided if you were just a little more well-rested.

Eat a Good Breakfast

Specifically, it’s a good idea to consider ways you can include protein in your meal.  Protein provides much needed energy and can actually decrease anxiety, a quality that will be very helpful on test day.  You should also try to include fruit, water, and complex carbohydrates in your meal if possible to avoid dehydration and increase alertness and energy.

Take a Deep Breath

Once you have the necessary equipment and are in the testing location, take a deep breath.  At this point you are as prepared as you are going to be and there’s no use worrying about things you can’t control.  Do the best you can and just see what happens.  The worst thing you can do at this point is to stress yourself to where you are unable to do what you could if you would just relax.  It’s just a test.

Take it Again

Studies have shown that the majority of people do better the second time they take the ACT.  Even if you feel that you did well, just plan on taking it at least twice.  Even if you do get a decent score, a single point could mean the difference between a scholarship and nothing.  Take advantage of the multiple opportunities provided for you.