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Self-care Tips for a Stress-free SAT/ACT: Visualize It

Visualization will help give you confidence and serenity throughout your time writing and studying for the SAT/ACT

Taking a life-altering test such as the SAT or the ACT can be very stressful. There is external pressure from teachers and parents, and internal pressure students put on themselves. Months of studying and preparing have come down to one moment, and a lot is riding on the outcome.

When it is time to take a test, it is important to be as prepared as possible. Preparation means being familiar with the test format and practicing specific exercises that are on the test. In addition to practicing questions, it is also helpful to use visualization techniques to boost your confidence and performance on the testing day.

By picturing yourself completing the test questions, you can create a positive expectation for yourself and increase your chances of achieving your goals. Visualization is a scientifically proven technique that can help you improve your focus and achieve your desired outcome.

In this article, we will discuss how visualization can help you do your best on your next test.

Why Visualization Is Important

When it comes to test-taking, you should try to take every advantage you can get (short of cheating, of course), and visualization is such an advantage. Simply picturing yourself succeeding on your test is enough to give yourself an edge.

Visualization of success has many benefits, and some studies show that visualizing something can be as effective as actually doing it. The brain uses most of the same neural pathways and areas of the motor cortex when visualizing as it does for moving and doing.

Visualization helps your brain create connections for whatever you’re visualizing. More neural connections means your brain can more efficiently send recall signals when you need them quickly, like during a test.

At InHouse Test Prep, we teach students the best ways to visualize how to take tests. We also get them prepared in every other way to help them achieve their goals. To learn more about our methods, click the link below.

Tips and Tricks To Use Visualization More Effectively

Here are some techniques to try to visualize achieving a high score on the SAT/ACT:

  • Know It Works: Practice visualizing knowing that what you are thinking can actually happen in real life — if you believe it, it will happen.

  • Use All Your Senses: The more senses you attach to your visualizations, the easier they will replicate during testing.

  • Connect With Your Emotions: Like using your senses, attaching emotions to your visualizations will allow you to access them easily.

  • Try Not to Overthink: Allow images to come to you rather than seeking them out.

  • Stay Relaxed: Focus on your breath and begin your practice with a relaxation exercise.

  • Go Easy on Yourself: Try not to judge yourself when visualizing. Come back to focusing on your breathing when that happens.

  • Practice Makes Perfect - Regularly practice your breathing and visualization techniques before taking the SAT/ACT.

Visualization is a powerful tool to use when studying for the SAT/ACT. Some people think studying and cramming are the only ways to achieve success, but the little things like visualization matter too.

How To Use Visualization Techniques Before Taking the SAT/ACT

You have visualized yourself a million times taking the test, and you have seen yourself get excellent marks for weeks. But now it’s test day. Take a moment to replicate the visualizations and feelings of calm you have been working on.

Here are some additional tips to successfully get you through test day:

  • Avoid Cramming: Cease studying at least 12 hours before the exam. This will improve information retention and recall during the exam.

  • It’s Not the End of the World: Remind yourself that it’s only a test. Adding pressure is not going to help.

  • It’s Not a Measure of Your Self-worth: The outcome of this test will not determine whether you succeed or fail for the rest of your life.

  • Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine causes anxiety, which you don’t need.

  • Don’t Listen To Loud Music Beforehand: You don’t want your adrenaline pumping when taking a test. Listen to soft music if you would like.

  • Stay Present: Don’t focus on the outcome when writing. Focus on each question.

  • Take Breaks: Take short breaks during the test to recharge your brain. Watch the time, though!

Final Thoughts

Visualization works so well because what we focus on in our minds, we project on our world. The mind is a powerful tool. When you visualize doing something, like calmly and confidently taking the SAT/ACT, you are, in essence, programming and teaching your brain to achieve the same result in real life.

Visualization will not only help you achieve better results on your SAT/ACT, but it will also reduce the stress you're feeling. Stress is unhealthy in any form, and the stress around taking a major test is much greater than normal. Using visualization to help calm you down before your test will benefit you physically and mentally, as well as helping you achieve your best scores. Visualization only takes a few minutes per day, but the end result is well worth it.

At InHouse Test Prep, we have been helping students prepare and do their best on major tests for over 20 years. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or your child visualize and achieve success on your SAT/ACT, click the link below.

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