Given the disappointments and struggles our teens are experiencing with school right now, it’s no surprise that anxiety levels are up in students all across the country. 

With so much stress on our teens already, how can you help them manage the extra stress of taking standardized tests? 

Join me and my special guest, ADHD coach Kelly Biltz, for the latest Coffee with Kim.

While she is an ADHD expert, Kelly’s tips and strategies can help all teens reduce anxiety about testing and even embrace it!

We cover the mandatory and optional sections of the ACT and SAT and how to decide which test to take.

Kelly also shares what test-takers can do to break down test prep into manageable, stress-free steps. 

Here’s a preview:

Follow a 6 week test prep schedule

Cramming test prep into a few days or hours before test day will only increase the pressure. 

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Choose the days in your calendar when you don’t have other tests to study for and dedicate those days to ACT/SAT prep.
  • Focus on one test section per week, starting with the section you find most challenging.
  • Study the same number of questions you will have on the test.
  • Repeat the process every week until you have covered all the sections of the test.

While studying, mimic the test taking environment by using a hard chair and writing surface with no distractions!

At the end of each week, take a sample test and time yourself. Having an awareness of where you can move quickly and where you’ll need to slow down will help you feel confident and in control during the test.

Use these tips along with this sample 6-week schedule to create your custom plan!

Master test strategies

These strategies are all about mindset! Practice them when taking sample tests so they become your habit.

First and foremost, take the time to read the entire question before attempting to answer!

If you feel stuck on a question, move on and come back to it after you complete the entire section-you may find the answer in the wording of the next questions. 

Be mindful of words like “always” and “never” but don’t overthink it.

Tip: the rules are different for ACT and SCT. Watch the replay to see when to guess and when not to guess!

Develop your coping skills

Taking deep breaths helps calm our brain when we feel triggered by anxiety. If you start to feel anxious, pause, take 5 deep breaths and re-focus.

Practice positive self-talk. What do you need to tell yourself during the test to stay calm and confident enough to keep going? Remember, you’ve prepared for this!

Arrive early and prepared. Organize your tools and materials so you have everything you need at your fingertips and bring back-up batteries, calculators, pens and pencils just in case. 

Don’t forget to bring water and snacks for breaks!

Practice self-care

Healthy routines and habits in the weeks leading up to test day will keep you in the best mindset for test taking!

Remember to:

  • Get enough sleep, water and healthy foods every day.
  • If you follow a medication schedule, ensure you keep it consistent. 
  • Avoid sugar and eat protein at breakfast on test day, so you don’t crash in the middle of the test.
  • Exercise. Even 15 minutes releases dopamine, which helps calm anxiety and improve focus.
  • Place a temporary ban on drama – try to maintain as much peace and calm as you can.

There’s so much we can do to help our test-takers get ready, even if they’re full of nerves! 

Listen to the full webinar to discover the actionable, expert advice Kelly shared so you can help your teenager minimize the stress around standardized testing