Essential Study Habits for Standardized Tests in 2021

Standardized testing can feel very overwhelming at times. Add in a global pandemic, and testing can seem downright impossible. Whether you’re trying to boost an SAT score or getting ready for the fast-approaching AP tests, it’s important to remember that there are tangible steps you can take to prepare for an unconventional testing experience. Here are three study habits to reduce anxiety and improve scores during Covid-19.




Mask Up!

If you’re taking an in-person test, you will be required to wear a mask for the entire length of the exam. Depending on the test, this would mean you could be wearing a mask for over 4 hours! While that is not an ideal situation, you can help prepare yourself for this by completing practice tests and studying while wearing a mask.

Through practicing test questions while wearing a mask, you can proactively address problems that may arise: sweating underneath your mask, the strain on your ears or neck, fogging your glasses, etc. Once you’ve identified these pesky annoyances, you can adjust your mask or find a better one that suits your needs. Each student is different, so it’s essential to figure out what changes you can make to give yourself the most comfortable testing experience.

Go Public!

People often joke that we’ve been quarantining and isolating for so long that we won’t know how to interact with strangers again. However, it is something worth considering when it comes to standardized testing. There is already a considerable amount of adrenaline and test-anxiety that occurs when students are placed in a room together to take an important test. Try reducing this anxiety by practicing in public spaces.

Depending on Covid guidelines in your area, find a safe place outdoors to sit and work on some problems. This can be a local park, an outdoor café, or even your own backyard! By putting yourself in a new location, you can practice blocking out distractions and overcome the anxiety of testing in front of people. Of course, it’s important to note that you should abide by all safety standards in your area, but so long as you’re safe, it’s a good way to practice and a good excuse to get out of the house!

Print It Out!

Digital learning is a tremendous development in education, and there are many benefits to using online resources to study. With the exception of some AP tests, standardized tests are still primarily done in person. Because of this, it’s critical to make sure you prepare for the test in the most authentic way possible: print out practice problems and use physical practice tests.

With your printed materials, make sure that you mark up your test questions as much as possible. Annotate throughout difficult reading passages and label diagrams when working on math problems. Not only will this help you prepare for your actual test, but the annotations can also serve as good notes to study later on.

Hopefully, we’ll soon be in a place where we won’t have to worry about masks and social distancing. In the meantime, we need to take proactive steps to make the test feel as “normal” as possible. Keep these tips in mind and be poised for success on your upcoming exams.

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