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How to Adjust your Standards for Standardized Tests

It’s testing season, the very worst time of the year for a lot of us! The Executive Board of HereNow is currently made up of Juniors and Seniors and we feel your pain because we are in it too. Here are some tips from us about how we are preparing for testing and how we plan to keep our mental health in check during the standardized testing period 

  • Read the instructions for each portion of the test beforehand! This will help alleviate some anxiety because you will know what to expect. 
  • Pay attention to what you need in order to study at your maximum capacity. Build in study breaks and ways to reward yourself for studying. Make sure to refill your tank when you need it. 
  • Be honest with yourself about how much time you really need to study and not how much time anxiety tells you to study.
  • Trust yourself! You have learned information that is useful. Some of this already exists in your head! You don’t need to cram for everything. 
  • Find fun ways to study like playing review games or asking a friend to study with you. 
  • The night before the test, get a good night’s sleep, hydrate, and eat protein! 
  • Pack snacks and water for the day of the test. Taking tests is like your brain running a marathon, you will be hungrier than you think you will be! 
  • Make a packing list of everything you need in advance and maybe even pack it the night before for a less stressful morning. Here is an example packing list:
    • ID
    • Extra pencils and pens
    • Snacks
    • Water
    • Sweater/jacket
  • After you take the test and leave the testing area, don’t think about it.  Let it go and go do something fun. You earned it!
  • Remember that posting about the test on social media isn’t allowed so find other ways to process and talk about the test if you need to, friends, family, therapist, pets, etc.
  • Reward yourself after the test! That was not easy so give yourself a little extra self care or chocolate or a long walk or dog snuggles. Make time for whatever your brain and body needs to decompress.
  • You can always retake a test if you decide to! 

At the end of the day, you are so much more than a test score. One test DOES NOT define you (actually no test defines you). Nobody needs to know your scores. If you don’t do as well as you hoped, nobody needs to know. Focus on what you learned from the prep, and not on your final score. Finally, remember a test doesn’t measure how much you learned, it measures if you can regurgitate it in that specific format. In fact, more and more schools are becoming test optional because they realize that standardized tests are often designed to be classist, racist, sexist, ableist, etc. A test is not a true measure of how well somebody will do in college or of their work ethic! 

Congrats, you finished your test. That means it’s time for SUMMER and that’s a celebration we can all get behind! (Let’s just pretend that finals don’t exist!)

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