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Score at the Top Blog

Lowering Your Anxiety Level when You Take the SAT or ACT

Monday, January 31, 2011

Here’s a simple and rather elegant way to allay your fears and calm your nerves before the next SAT or ACT: take about 10 minutes or so to jot down how you feel about the impending test. University of Chicago psychologists, in the journal Science, write about how this simple task relaxes an individual before a serious exam.

The scientists wanted to know why the pressure of college exams, among others, has a negative effect on how well students perform. These psychologists already knew that when clinically depressed people wrote about emotional events, the act of writing apparently reduced how much time a person spent thinking about awful things. So, the psychologists extended the notion to emotions before an exam: reduce anxiety and free up the brain for the test-taking task. Stressed students who were given ten minutes to express their feelings in writing performed significantly better than their peers who either wrote about other topics or did no writing whatsoever.

Talk about an easy method to assist yourself! But don’t talk—write!!