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28 Oct 2020

Understanding Your SAT / ACT Scores

If you’ve recently taken the SAT or ACT, more likely than not you are anxiously awaiting your score report. Your score report will provide a lot of useful information about your exam performance, but interpreting SAT or ACT scores is not as easy as one might think. For those of you just embarking on your test prep journey, understanding how the scoring works for your exam of choice is essential to planning your test prep most effectively. 

It’s important to understand that scaled scores take into account the difficulty level of the specific exam that you took, recognizing that difficulty level may vary slightly from one version of the test to the next. ACT and College Board start by calculating your raw score for each section, which is simply the number of questions you answered correctly. The raw score is then converted into a scaled score. Both College Board and ACT utilize a process they refer to as “equating” when converting raw scores to scaled scores. College Board explains, “Equating makes sure that a score for a test taken on one date is equivalent to a score from another date… it’s important that the score a student receives on the SAT means the same regardless of when the student took the test. This ensures that there’s no advantage to taking the SAT during one administration versus another.” 

Contrary to popular belief, the SAT and ACT are not “graded on a curve” in the traditional sense. The process of equating ensures that a student’s score is based only on how they performed on test day and is never affected by another test-taker’s performance, according to College Board and ACT.

Scaled Scores on the ACT 

For the ACT, scaled scores are reported as a number out of 36. You will get a scaled score out of 36 for each of the four multiple-choice sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Your composite score is the average of those four scaled scores. In other words, ACT adds up all four scaled scores and then divides that value by four. 

Scaled Scores on the SAT

College Board calculates verbal section scores differently than the math sections. You will receive scaled scores out of 40 for the reading and writing sections of the SAT. Your reading and writing scaled scores are then added together and multiplied by 10 to give you a scaled verbal score out of 800. 

Your raw scores for the two math sections (No Calculator and Calculator) are added together, giving your final math raw score. This combined raw math score is converted directly to a scaled score out of 800. 

Your scaled verbal and math scores are then added together to give you a total score out of 1600.

ACT Percentiles

Your percentile rank, distinct from your scaled scores, represents the percentage of students whose score is equal to or lower than yours. If you are in the 80th percentile, for example, this means that 80% of test-takers earned scores that were equivalent to or below your score. 

On the ACT, you’ll receive two separate percentiles: a US Rank and a State Rank. Simply put, these ranks represent the percentages of recent high school graduates in the US and recent graduates in your state who took the ACT and earned scores equal to or lower than yours.

For more information on scoring, you can check out the ACT website

SAT Percentiles

Two percentiles will show up on your SAT score report. The Nationally Representative Sample Percentile indicates where you stand compared to all 11th and 12th grade students in the US, including those who did not even take the SAT. The SAT User Percentile indicates how you scored compared to students in the past three graduating classes who took the current SAT during high school. 

College Board provides a detailed breakdown of the SAT Score Report. You can check it out here.

As you can see, there is no “passing” or “failing” when it comes to the SAT or ACT. However, it is essential to understand how you will be scored on these tests in order to make an informed decision about which exam will play to your strengths and how to construct a test prep plan that addresses your weaknesses. If you are seeking guidance in this process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

23 Oct 2020

Life Beyond COVID: ISEE vs. SSAT

Though COVID has put our lives on hold in many ways, for families and students who are interested in the private school application process, it may be time to think about standardized testing. Most private, independent, and boarding schools require either the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT). While these two exams are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences that students and their families should keep in mind when deciding which one to take. 

What testing levels are available for the ISEE and SSAT?

For both exams, there are several levels available that correspond with the age and grade level of the test-taker. The ISEE offers four categories: 

– Primary Level (for students applying to grades 2-4)

– Lower Level (for students applying to grades 5-6)

– Middle Level (for students applying to grades 7-8)

– Upper Level (for students applying to grades 9-12)

The SSAT, on the other hand, offers three categories:

– Elementary Level (for students applying to grades 4-5) 

– Middle Level (for students applying to grades 6-8) 

– Upper Level (for students applying to grades 9-12)

What is the format of each exam? 

Both exams are composed of five sections that assess students’ verbal, reading, quantitative, and writing skills. The ISEE includes 4 section scores: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, mathematics, and reading comprehension. 

The SSAT consists of just three scores: verbal, reading, and quantitative. Both exams also include an unscored writing sample, which is sent to schools along with the score report and considered as part of each student’s application. 

How are the ISEE and SSAT scored? 

One important difference to note is that the Middle and Upper Level SSAT have a quarter point penalty for each incorrect answer. In contrast, The ISEE does not have a guessing penalty. Additionally, the SSAT score is converted to (and reported as) a percentile score, while the ISEE is scored on a standard nine-point scale (1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest score). 

How are these exams administered? 

Both the ISEE and SSAT can be administered on a computer or as a paper-based exam. The digital version of both exams — a more attractive option in the pandemic landscape — can be taken at home or at a testing center. The paper-based version may be taken at school or at a testing center. 

The ISEE may be taken up to three times, once during the fall, winter, and spring/summer testing seasons. The SSAT, on the other hand, can be taken a maximum of eight times and the SSAT can be taken at home no more than 5 times. 

So, should I take the ISEE or SSAT? 

Answering this question requires research into the admissions requirements of the school(s) that you or your child are most interested in attending. Some schools prefer one exam over the other, while some accept both. In which case, taking a practice exam for both tests and comparing your scores would be a good way to assess which exam best caters to your strengths as a student. 

We understand that applying to private and independent schools can be an overwhelming process even in the best of times — let alone during a pandemic, when all aspects of in-person and remote learning are in flux. We are always happy to provide support, from exam selection to test prep to ongoing academic support. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

16 Oct 2020

The State of ACT / SAT Testing Amidst COVID

As COVID cases spike once again in the US, the ACT and College Board continue to adapt to the ever-evolving situation. This means more test cancellations and general unrest surrounding SAT and ACT administrations. Back in late September, of the 334,000 students registered to take the SAT, about 183,000 of those students were unable to test. Of the 363,000 registered to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests in early October, 154,000 were unable to do so due to test center cancellations. We expect the gap between the number of test registrations and tests successfully taken to continue to widen as we move into late October. 

If you are planning to test in the near future, it is more important than ever to stay up to date on cancellations in your area and we want to help you do that. Read on for a few ways to stay up to date on cancellations for the SAT and ACT. 

SAT Cancellations

As we noted in a blog post back in August, the College Board continues to reiterate that individual test centers decide whether or not to administer the SAT, pending local public health guidelines, which could mean unexpected test cancellations right up until test day. 

College Board suggests that students frequently check their email as well as the test center closure page before and on test day to confirm their center is in fact open. College Board notes, “Test centers may have closed or rescheduled to a makeup date at the last minute even if there is still an active admission ticket. If this happens, students will be notified that they shouldn’t report to their test center, and they’ll receive a follow up notification after the test day to confirm whether a makeup is available or if they will receive a refund.”

ACT Cancellations

Similarly, the ACT acknowledges “continued limitations in test center capacity and inevitable cancellations” throughout the remainder of 2020-2021 test dates. Decisions to close test centers are made on a site-by-site basis by test center staff following CDC and local public health guidelines. 

If you are registered for an ACT test date, you can expect regular email updates from ACT Monday through Friday by 6pm CT regarding your registration. In addition to checking your email, be sure to check this list of cancelled test centers frequently. Scroll to the bottom of this list to find information regarding Rescheduled October National ACT Test Centers.

In short, test cancellations are skyrocketing as COVID cases continue to climb. We understand how unsettling this must be for those of you preparing to take the SAT / ACT and want to support you in your test preparation, even (and especially) amidst growing uncertainty. As always, we are here to help. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

09 Oct 2020

Self-Reporting SAT / ACT Scores: Why and How?

After months of studying for the SAT or ACT, carefully piecing together a strong college application, and crafting your college list, it’s important to ensure that your dream schools get a complete picture of who you are as an applicant. Your test scores are, of course, an important piece of the puzzle. But, did you know that not all schools require official score reports? In fact, there is a growing trend of schools allowing applicants to self-report their scores, only requiring an official score report if they choose to enroll. Let’s break down why self-reporting is an attractive option for many applicants and exactly how it works.

Why the trend towards self-reporting scores?

Between application fees, test registration fees, and official score report fees, the college application process is expensive and inaccessible to many. For students who take the SAT and/or ACT and apply to a dozen or more colleges, sending official score reports alone can cost hundreds of dollars. Self-reporting test scores, on the other hand, drastically reduces the cost associated with the application process. 

Self-reporting scores also eliminates any lag time between submitting your application and schools receiving your test scores. This means you can rest assured that schools will have access to your scores as soon as they receive your application. This is a plus for admissions officers as well because they can find all of your information — personal info, test scores, essays, etc. — in one convenient place.

Though some may be skeptical of self-reporting, there’s no way to inflate your test scores because if you are accepted and decide to enroll in a school, you will have to send an official score report to verify your scores prior to enrollment. If there’s a discrepancy between your self-reported scores and your official scores, your application will most likely be disqualified. 

How can I self-report my scores? 

It’s easy! In the Common Application, many schools have a question under the “Testing” tab asking if you’d like to self-report your scores. If so, you can manually type in your scores. Other colleges might ask you to self-report through their application system or by taking a screenshot of your online score report and sending that image in with your application. Whatever the protocol may be, these unofficial scores will be used for admissions purposes only. Upon acceptance and enrollment, you will be prompted to send in an official score report.

As self-reporting has become more popular over the past few years, so have test optional policies — especially in response to limited testing opportunities amidst the pandemic. Check out our past blog post for more information on the growing number of colleges with test optional policies. 

Regardless of how they get reported, solid test scores are an important part of an impressive college application. No matter what phase of test prep you’re in, we are always happy to help.  As always, at Sentia we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

18 Sep 2020

ACT Math: Is It Getting More Difficult?

Since 2016, the ACT Math section has undergone some changes that, indeed, have made the section a bit more difficult. The ACT has introduced a wider variety of advanced math topics since 2016, though it has not increased the emphasis placed on difficult questions. Rather, the ACT rotates these topics among the most challenging math questions that typically show up at the conclusion of the section. The bulk of the content remains the same, but you may run into some questions towards the end of the math section that feel more challenging.

ACT vs. SAT Math 

While the redesigned SAT has narrowed its focus in the math section and tends to include more algebra (accounting for more than 60% of the math sections!), the ACT has moved in the opposite direction by expanding its scope to include a broader variety of advanced topics. For example, over the past several years the ACT has begun including topics like matrix multiplication, conic sections, asymptotes, terminal sides and coterminal angles — the list goes on. 

The range of topics covered by the ACT is looking more and more like that of the SAT Math II Subject Test. The key distinction here, however, is that the ACT is not placing the same degree of emphasis on the hardest math concepts — chances are the advanced topics will show up in small numbers towards the end of the section. 

By pushing the upper limits of math content difficulty, the ACT requires students to achieve a higher level of mastery in advanced math concepts in order to attain top scores. This may be part of a larger scheme to more effectively populate the full score range, with more of a tangible distinction between scores in the 30-36 range. Fewer students with perfect scores allows for a broader range of scaled and raw scores. 

How Useful Is My Calculator? 

Additionally, the ACT writers seem to be crafting problems that render your calculator less useful. By asking more conceptual questions or asking for answers in terms of variables rather than numerical values, the ACT pushes test-takers to more deeply understand the content. The ACT is also directly assessing math vocabulary by asking for the computational definition of independent events in a probability question, for example. Without explicit knowledge of these terms, a student will be less likely to select the correct answer and a calculator will be of no use to you in these cases.

All this is to say: Yes, the ACT is including more difficult concepts in the math section, but not to worry! Every test-taker is experiencing the same increase in difficulty level and scores will be scaled accordingly. For top score hopefuls, mastering the advanced math concepts will be key to working towards that 34, 35, or 36. If math is your strong suit, this may be an opportunity to make your ACT score stand out. If you’re struggling with ACT math content, trying to figure out how to structure your study regimen, looking to take your test scores to the next level, or anything in between, we would be happy to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out! At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

08 Sep 2020

SAT Section 5: What is it?

There is much speculation surrounding the mysterious Section 5 of the SAT. Some students end up taking this fifth 20-minute section while others do not. Additionally, the content covered in this wildcard of a section can vary widely from test to test. Let’s demystify Section 5 by understanding its function, whether you can expect to see a Section 5 on your exam, and how the additional section will (or, more likely, will not) affect your score. 

What is the function of this section? 

Section 5 of the SAT is widely believed to be an experimental section, created as an opportunity for the College Board to pretest content, answer choices, and test question philosophies on a captive audience under test conditions. College Board has been persistently vague about this section, noting in the SAT Advising and Admission Handbook, “To allow for pretesting, some students taking the SAT with no Essay will take a fifth, 20-minute section. Any section of the SAT may contain both operational and pretest items.” 

Operational items are questions that count towards your score. Pretest items, on the other hand, are not scored and do not contribute to your score. College Board has been uncharacteristically opaque about whether or not this section counts towards students’ final scores. 

Will this section affect my score? 

Though the College Board has made it impossible to say with absolute certainty that the experimental Section 5 will not count towards your score, never in the history of the redesigned SAT has a question from anyone’s 5th section appeared in the scored Question-and-Answer Service sections that are sent back to students. All signs indicate that this section is unscored and exists primarily to test out future material. It is likely that the College Board is being vague on this point to ensure that students take the section seriously, in order to obtain the most accurate data possible. If students were certain that the section would not contribute to their scores, they may not give it their all (or skip it completely). 

Will I have to take the additional section? 

A close reading of the Spring and Summer 2019 The SAT and SAT Subject Tests Supervisor Manual reveals, “At some centers, certain administrations will include an additional 20-minute section to be completed by all SAT test takers, including students taking the SAT with Essay.” 

So, while it used to be the case that only students taking the SAT without the Essay could expect to see a Section 5, now those taking the SAT with Essay should not be surprised to encounter the experimental section either. Test takers with extended time, however, will not see a Section 5 on their exams. 

How will this experimental section affect my test prep? 

Showing up on Test Day knowing exactly what to expect is the best way to feel confident going into the SAT (or any exam for that matter). So, expecting to encounter a 20-minute section in Math, Reading, or Writing after the Math with Calculator section or the Essay is a good way to mentally prepare yourself and avoid unwelcome surprises. 

Though it seems unlikely that Section 5 will affect your score, it is not outside the realm of possibility. By continuing with your diligent test prep and taking every single question on your exam seriously, you will be set up for success on the SAT. 

We are always happy to answer questions and provide support for all aspects of the test preparation process. Especially during uncertain times such as these, we are here to help and ensure that your test prep goes as smoothly as possible. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

28 Aug 2020

SAT Test Center Closings

If you are planning to take the SAT in the near future, be sure to keep an eye on the SAT Test Center Closings page on the College Board website. It is important to note that individual test centers decide whether or not to administer the SAT, pending health and safety. College Board notes, “All weekend test centers must adhere to local public health guidelines and follow College Board requirements.” In the rapidly changing landscape of a pandemic, this could mean unexpected test cancellations (even at the very last minute). 

This page will be updated with new information every three hours. We recommend checking the College Board website, your email, as well as your individual test center’s website the night before and morning of your scheduled exam. There is also the possibility of test centers reducing their capacity, in which case test-takers will be notified by email. It is essential that College Board has your correct contact info in the event of a last minute change. You can confirm your contact details here.  

If your test center makes the decision to close, expect to be contacted directly by email or text for more details on the cancellation, reduced capacity, a refund, or a possible location change and makeup date. 

If your test center is closed, you can register for a future test date. 


We understand that the possibility of a last minute change must feel jarring, especially for those who have been preparing diligently for your exams. As we all navigate this unprecedented and unpredictable time, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

26 Aug 2020

International ACT Cancellations for December and February Test Dates

On August 25th, ACT made the official announcement that all international ACT administrations will be cancelled in the months of December 2020 and February 2021 due to the risks posed by COVID-19. ACT cites new testing procedures and safety precautions at the root of the decision, which anticipates complications and school closures due to the upcoming flu season and a potential COVID-19 resurgence. 

Students who were already registered for December and February test dates have been notified of their options, which include placement in an alternate testing date in the 2020-2021 year at no charge or a full refund. 

In the meantime, September and October international administrations will move ahead as planned. 

For those whose study plans have been disrupted by this announcement, coming up with a contingency plan is imperative. You may want to consider the following options.

Plan to test in October: If you are already far along in your test prep and feel ready to test sooner rather than later, consider moving up your test date to October. 

Plan to test in April: If you have not yet started your ACT prep, you may want to wait until the new year before diving into your study regimen. Or, if you have already begun studying, put your studies on pause until January or February in order to avoid burnout. 

Consider the SAT: If taking the ACT in October or April will not suit your needs, you may want to set your sights on the December 5th or March 13th SAT administrations. Though the pacing and structure of the ACT and SAT are different, about 80% of the content overlaps. So, by preparing for the ACT you have already been inadvertently building a foundation of knowledge for the SAT as well. 

If you are seeking more guidance in navigating these recent developments, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to provide support and answer any questions or concerns.

14 Aug 2020

The PSAT: Why It Matters and Why You Should Prep For It!

While most students are familiar with the SAT, the details of the PSAT often get lost in the assumption that the PSAT is simply a practice SAT test. Indeed, the PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT, but it is also so much more! Let’s break down what exactly the PSAT is, why it matters, whether or not you should take it, and when (during this unprecedented upcoming school year) you can take it.

What is the PSAT? 

Let’s start with the basics: The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) — often shortened to PSAT — is a standardized test targeting 10th and 11th graders in the US. The PSAT is, of course, closely tied to the SAT. One of the primary purposes of the PSAT is to prepare students for the SAT by providing a testing experience very similar to that of the SAT in terms of content, structure, and scoring. There are three sections on the PSAT, which mirror the SAT: Reading, Writing, and Math (with Calculator and No Calculator subsections). However, there are a few key differences: 

– The SAT has an optional Essay section, whereas the PSAT does not.

– The PSAT has fewer questions than the SAT. 

– The PSAT is known to be slightly easier than the SAT.

As for the “NMSQT” part of the PSAT/NMSQT, this exam doubles as a qualifying test for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program. 

That’s not all, there are other iterations of the PSAT as well. The PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 serve to prepare students for the PSAT/NMSQT and, eventually, the SAT. As the names suggest, the PSAT 10 is geared towards 10th graders and the PSAT 8/9 is offered to 8th and 9th graders. Neither of these tests can qualify students for National Merit, but they do provide excellent opportunities to familiarize yourself with the test before taking the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade.

Why does it matter? 

Ultimately, the importance of your PSAT score depends on how you plan to use it: Are you trying to qualify for National Merit? Are you aiming for a high SAT score down the road? 

Each year, the top 1% of 11th-grade PSAT takers become Semifinalists for National Merit scholarships. This group is then narrowed down to approximately 15,000 Finalists. From this pool of Finalists, about 7,500 students nationwide are awarded scholarships of $2,500 a year, which can be renewed each year of college. 

It’s true that colleges will never see your official PSAT scores, but receiving a National Merit Scholarship – or having stellar SAT scores, for that matter – will certainly make you stand out on your college applications. Taking the PSAT is an important step in the process of building a strong application that reflects your academic strengths.

Should you take it? 

If you’re not convinced already: in short, yes you should take the PSAT. There are several pathways for taking the PSAT. For students looking for as much official practice as possible, you can take the PSAT as early as 8th grade. However, a more common option is to take the PSAT 10 once in 10th grade to prepare for taking the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade. 

If you’re planning to take the ACT instead of the SAT, you may be wondering if the PSAT could be useful to you. Absolutely! The PSAT is still a great way to get comfortable with the format of these standardized exams. Plus, regardless of whether you’re planning to take the SAT or ACT, your performance on the PSAT can be used to determine which academic areas you should focus on in your test prep. Additionally, a low score on the PSAT will not negatively impact you in any way. Even if the content on the PSAT doesn’t map perfectly onto the ACT, there is a lot of overlap. 

When can you take it? 

You must register for the PSAT at your own school (or a nearby school) and take it on the test date selected by your school. Some schools have all students take the PSAT/NMSQT, so make sure you know whether you need to register for the exam or if your school’s got that covered. As of now, the PSAT/NMSQT 2020 Testing Schedule looks like this: 

– Primary date: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

– Saturday date: Saturday, October 17, 2020

– Alternate test date: Thursday, October 29, 2020

That being said, College Board acknowledges that many schools will be utilizing virtual instruction options and plans will continue to evolve this fall. For schools that are unable to administer the PSAT/NMSQT in October as planned, College Board states they will also offer the PSAT/NMSQT this winter, which will be used for programs administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. If this option piques your interest, stay tuned — College Board has promised to send out an email update on the winter PSAT by the end of the month.

Whether it’s the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or any other standardized test, we are here to help you strategize, prepare, and perform your very best on Test Day. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

07 Aug 2020

Training for an Exam: The 7 Day Countdown

When it comes to test prep, it really is a marathon, not a sprint. Any marathoner would be able to give you a detailed breakdown of their routine before a big race. It is equally important to follow a regimented schedule for the 7 days leading up to Test Day. In developing a plan that works best for you, be sure to keep these tips in mind. Your body will thank you and we suspect your exam scores will be the reward! 

Sleep Regulation

Your circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle, has a huge impact on how you feel both physically and intellectually. Disruption of your circadian rhythm (like pulling an all-nighter, for example) can negatively affect the brain and the body. In order to feel your very best on Test Day, it is crucial to regulate your sleep pattern. 

Start by figuring out when you need to wake up on Test Day. That means factoring in things like: How long does it take to get to my school or testing center? How long will it take to wake up and get out the door? Am I going to shower? How long does it take to prepare breakfast? Am I going to drink coffee? This may sound over the top, but these are all important items to consider. Once you’ve determined when you should wake up on Test Day, try to get a minimum of 8.5 hours of sleep each night (and preferably 9.5) and wake up at that time for the entire week leading up to your exam. 

Nine-and-a-half-hours? Yes! Teenagers need more sleep than adults and the cognitive impairment that results from a lack of sleep mimics the effect of alcohol on reflexes. Sentia’s founder Billy Wheelan maintains that, “a lack of sleep is enemy #1 of academic performance. The most impactful change most teenagers can make in their test prep is to sleep more – and more consistently – every night.”

Whatever you do, do NOT pull an all-nighter. There is plenty of research demonstrating the counterproductivity of sacrificing sleep for studying. In fact, more sleep is strongly correlated with better grades and a higher GPA. Getting enough sleep will not only make you feel better, but will also ensure that your brain is primed to remember the information that you’ve worked so hard to learn. 

Exercise 

No need to train for an actual marathon while studying, but squeezing in a workout each day of the week leading up to your exam can increase your mental processing abilities. Taking up a new, rigorous workout regimen is probably not the best idea. Figure out what feels best for your body — maybe that’s jogging, doing yoga, or going for a swim. 

Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that can sharpen one’s ability to learn and digest information quickly. Exercising may help you clear your mind and alleviate some of that inevitable test anxiety. Plus, when you do sit down to study, and eventually take the exam itself, you will likely feel more focused and energized. 

Diet 

Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day. On Test Day, this is certainly true! A satisfying, filling breakfast can give you ample energy to get through even the longest exams. According to this study on the effects of breakfast on academic performance, eating breakfast has a positive effect on cognitive performance, particularly in the domains of memory and attention.

Of course, memory and attention are crucial to acing your exam. Consider stocking up on good brain foods like whole grains (oatmeal, granola, quinoa, etc.), fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables for the week of your exam (and always!). There is plenty of evidence linking healthy eating habits to strong academic performance, so make sure that you’re fueling your studies with healthy foods, which will ultimately help you succeed on Test Day. 

Stress Management

If you’ve ever taken a major exam (or experienced performance anxiety of any kind), you are probably no stranger to testing anxiety. At Sentia, we teach our Relax, Refresh, Refocus technique to help students solve questions in a state of calm, focused flow from exam start to finish. Some elements you can try on your own include practicing deep breathing between sections, putting your pencil down for mini breaks during the test, and performing shoulder and neck rolls to release upper back tension. Don’t wait for exam day to give them a try. Instead, when you sit down to study during that final week, practice your deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Give yourself time to sit back, stay grounded, and take breaks as needed. 

Yes, testing can feel terrifying. And yes, you may feel like your future hangs in the balance of your exam scores. But, especially if you follow these pro tips, you can succeed. As you sit down to take your exam, focus on feeling confident and at ease — you got this! 

As always, we are here to help with all manner of test prep needs, from content to strategy. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are seeking additional support. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!