Here’s a news flash for you: the ACT is a long, boring test. (You’re shocked, right?!)
To make matters worse, when you take it, you will be stuck in a drab, quiet classroom…on a Saturday morning.
I would love to be able to tell you that – when taking an ACT practice test – you should take a break by checking your phone for the latest texts or watching cat videos on YouTube.
The problem is that doing so won’t help you on test day when you’re trapped at a desk for 4…long…hours….
You can review all of the math hacks and punctuation rules in the world, but if you can’t get – and stay – focused, those tips and tools won’t help you as much as they could.
To be clear, I’m not saying don’t be bored and unfocused. It will happen. It’s unavoidable. But how you handle these issues will make all the difference in your ACT score.
Here are 6 tips to help you get focused…even when the ACT is boring you to death.
1. Put Your Pencil Down
The biggest mistake students make when they mentally check out of an exam is that their pencils keep moving. Don’t do this! Take a full stop and put your pencil down.
You must remember that – on any standardized test – ACCURACY > SPEED.
The ACT is not about getting to the finish line. It’s about answering as many questions correctly as possible while getting as close to the finish line as you can.
Don’t let the timing distract you from the real task at hand – answering questions correctly. If you forge ahead without being fully engaged mentally you will hurt your score.
2. Take a Sip of Water
A little bit of movement and hydration will help you regain focus.
3. Close Your Eyes
Closing your eyes gives you a chance to escape that boring classroom and visualize someplace that you might actually want to be.
It can be anywhere in the world.
For instance, when I take the ACT these days, I “take a break” on the beach in Kauai my hubby and I went to on our honeymoon.
10 seconds on the beach and I’m refreshed and ready to dive back in!
This may sound silly, but – trust me – it works. And nobody in the room will even notice what you’re doing so you may as well try it.
4. Take 3 Deep Breaths
Your brain needs oxygen to function properly and often times we don’t give it as much as it needs. Take 3 slow, deep breaths while your eyes are closed to refresh yourself.
5. Stretch In Your Seat
Take a second to stretch your neck, give your hands a little mini-massage, and roll out your wrists. This will help you get primed and ready to work, but also stay relaxed.
6. Get Back To It – Brain First
Don’t take too long. This whole process should take no more than 45 seconds to 1 minute. But, before you open your eyes and dive back in, get fired up mentally and ready to show ACT, Inc. what you’re made of.
Then open your eyes and get to it!
If you use these 6 steps on a practice ACT test first, you’ll find that you will be able to trust that 45 seconds breaks mid-section won’t mess with your timing. You’ll do what’s right for your brain and for your accuracy, and your score will reflect that.
Stay strong. Stay focused. You’ve got this!
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