Here's what they know:
- ANXIETY- it turns out ACT scores are "not biased by anxiety." Even though anxiety has little effect on the student's score, anxiety is primarily related to feelings of being unprepared for the test. How to feel better prepared and diminish anxiety:
- take classes that cover the content on the test. Anxiety heightens when you don't know the answer!
- be familiar with the tests' format, content, and length- take a practice test, practice pacing, know the directions.
- limit distractions in the testing environment; make sure students know ahead of time where they will be testing.
- let students know the test's importance without hyping up it up as high-stakes. It may feel high stakes to the district, but debilitating test anxiety is real, avoid creating it.
- SLEEP- it turns out getting 7-9 hours of sleep the night prior to the test has more impact on the students' score than basic test prep programs.
- BREAKFAST- eating a good breakfast before the test is also related to greater test performance. ACT was so interested in this finding, they are providing breakfast to 5 districts in Virginia to further research these findings.
Last-- it probably would help to have a test proctor who isn't anxious or stressed. Do your best to get a good night's sleep and eat a good breakfast the morning of the test. We're all in this together!