Category Archives: Test Taking Tips

13 Jan 2021

ACT Computer-Based Test, US Rollout

We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and enjoying the start of the new year! 

To bring everyone up-to-date on a bit of exciting news in the test prep world, the launch of the computer-based version of the ACT in the US is fast-approaching. Amidst the COVID crisis, computer-based testing has gained popularity and is quickly becoming the norm. Historically, ACT has been a trail-blazer in the transition to computer-based testing. In 2018, ACT transitioned international students from paper to computer-based tests (CBT). Now, the ACT CBT rollout in the US is imminent. We’d like to provide some information about how this changes the game for ACT test-takers and tips for ensuring a smooth transition to the CBT. 

Mastery of both content and format are crucial to success on the ACT. While the content and structure of the computer-based ACT will remain the same as the traditional paper version, familiarity with the new digital format will be essential before Test Day. 

Most notably, perhaps, is the introduction of several on-screen tools including a highlighter, answer eliminator (to cross out answers), answer masker (to hide answer choices in order to avoid distractions), line reader (to focus on a single line and block out surrounding lines), and magnifier (to enlarge part of a graph or image). Though students taking the CBT will not be able take notes directly on the test booklet, as is the case with the paper test, they will be provided with a separate whiteboard at the test center for notetaking and scratch work. Additionally, students taking the CBT will only see one question per page, which will make it slightly more challenging for students to answer questions out of order and make quick guesses at the end of a section.

We are confident that all of our ACT tutors are well-equipped to incorporate CBT strategies into their students’ test prep. We will continue to keep everyone updated as ACT provides a clearer timeline for the CBT rollout in the US. 

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns regarding test prep, academic support, or anything in between. At Sentia, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

09 Dec 2020

ACT Writing: To Take or Not To Take?

As more and more students opt to take the ACT, the “ACT Plus Writing” has become a well-known alternative to the “SAT With Essay.” But, we think the ACT Writing Test is still shrouded in a bit of mystery. Who requires ACT Writing and how heavily weighted is it when in the hands of a college admissions committee? Here, we will break down what exactly is the ACT Writing Test, which schools require it (hint: very few), and how to decide whether you should take it. Read on!

What is the ACT Writing Test? 

The ACT Writing Test is an optional 40-minute essay section that students can take immediately after completing the other sections of the ACT. It’s available to test-takers on all national ACT testing dates in the United States. It costs an additional $16. It’s important to note that you cannot take the ACT Writing Test on its own; you can only take it after completing the full ACT exam. 

The Writing Test is designed to measure the writing skills that are typically taught in high school English classes and, supposedly, indicate how you might perform in an entry-level composition class in college. 

The Writing Test is evaluated by two graders who each score your essay on a scale of 1-6 in four domains, giving scores out of 12 for each domain. Your score is then calculated by averaging those four domain scores, producing a total ACT Writing score from 2-12. Next, the ACT combines your essay score with your English and Reading sections score and averages them to give you an English Language Arts (ELA) subscore between 1 and 36. Though the Writing Test does provide additional information about your writing ability (under very specific, somewhat stressful conditions), your ACT Writing score is not factored into your composite ACT score. 

Which schools require ACT Writing?  

In recent years, many schools that previously required ACT Writing have decided to make the section optional. Some schools have even made the decision to stop reviewing the Writing score altogether, even if students do take it and submit their score. 

Perhaps surprisingly, most top schools do not require ACT Writing! Many top-tier colleges including Harvard, Yale, Duke, Princeton, and Brown have all stopped requiring ACT writing over the past several years. In fact, none of the Ivy League schools require ACT Writing currently. As of Fall 2020, only 12 schools in the US still require the ACT with Writing.

There are several schools that still recommend, but do not require, ACT Writing. Yale, Tulane, Amherst, University of Michigan, Middlebury, and Lehigh all fall under this category.

Should I take it? 

So, it seems as though very few programs — and no highly selective programs — are actually requiring ACT Writing these days. What does this mean for test-takers debating whether or not to take the ACT Writing Test? While most schools no longer require ACT Writing, it’s still recommended for many schools if you can do well on it. 

It is essential to understand the testing requirements and preferences of the programs to which you are applying. If any of the schools on your list require the ACT Plus Writing (or make clear that they strongly recommend it), the decision has been made for you: take it! If not, the bottom line is this: a strong Writing score will almost always elevate your application. The ACT Writing Test can be an excellent way to showcase your stellar writing skills and give you an edge in the college admissions process!

If you are seeking support in preparing for the ACT Writing Test, or any other exam for that matter, we would be delighted to help. We wish everyone a happy finals season! As always, we don’t just tutor, we’ll be with you every step of the way™!

11 Nov 2020

Qualifying for National Merit Without the PSAT

Unfortunately, many high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors have been unable to take the PSAT this fall due to COVID-19-related cancellations. Some school systems have rescheduled the PSAT for January, but the trajectory of the pandemic remains uncertain, as does whether or not virus levels will be low enough to administer the PSAT in schools this winter. If you missed our post on why the PSAT matters and why you should prep for it, you can check it out here. Most importantly, the PSAT is not only an opportunity to prepare for the SAT, it also gives 11th graders the chance to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT/NMSQT (“National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test”) — the PSAT for 11th graders — is the first step in the National Merit Scholarship Competition, in which millions of students across the country compete for 8,800 prestigious scholarships. As one might imagine, being a National Merit semifinalist, finalist, or recipient looks excellent on a college application. 

So, for juniors who are concerned about missing out on their opportunity to qualify for one of these coveted scholarships, not to worry! The National Merit Scholarship Competition has devised an alternate entry route. We will break it down for you. 

NOTE: The alternate entry route was not created in response to COVID-19. For several years now, students who can’t take the PSAT for a number of reasons including family emergencies, illness, or inclement weather have had the option of using official SAT scores for the competition. 

How do I use the alternate entry route? 

While juniors who take the PSAT are automatically entered into the National Merit Scholarship Competition, you must complete a separate, short application if you’re planning to use the alternate entry route. You can complete the application here, on the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s website. If you choose to submit SAT scores instead of PSAT scores, you must have all your testing done by April 1st, 2021. 

That being said, some schools have postponed their PSAT date, with hopes of a winter or spring administration. If you decide to apply using SAT scores, but end up having the opportunity to take the PSAT after all, the National Merit Scholarship Foundation will automatically use your PSAT score instead of any SAT scores you may have submitted already. 

How does scoring work if I submit SAT scores?

Eligibility for a National Merit Scholarship is typically determined by the PSAT NMSC selection index score, which is calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math section scores. Every state has a certain number of semifinalist slots to fill with students with the highest index scores. Those students can then choose to compete for finalist status. 

If you decide to submit SAT scores instead, your selection index will be calculated the same way using your Reading, Writing and Language, and Math SAT scores. The SAT and PSAT are, of course, slightly different. So, if you take both exams, your indexes for each are bound to vary. Given that the PSAT is shorter and considered less challenging than the SAT, it is in every junior’s best interest to take the PSAT if at all possible. 

We recognize that many students are encountering unforeseen challenges right now, between remote learning, testing disruptions, and overarching public health concerns. We want to help support you or your child this academic year. 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™!

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™!