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Don’t Let ACT Anxiety Get You Down

Because you’re not alone! Most juniors and seniors these days are juggling the ACT Test, college admissions essays and applications, plus numerous AP and Honors classes. So how can you get it all done without falling apart?


How to Deal With ACT Anxiety

Make a study schedule.

Start by setting an effective routine schedule, and plan to stick to it! Make sure you have a set schedule for studying and non-studying. Try to keep a balanced routine the same in the weeks before a big end-of-year thesis is due. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Your body is a creature of habit, and it usually takes about two weeks to form a new one in the brain! Remember, like much stress, ACT anxiety comes from the fear of the unknown. A little organization can go a long way towards becoming familiar and comfortable with the test.

Don’t procrastinate.

Don’t procrastinate on your ACT studying! Easier said than done, right? A surefire way to feel stress on Test Day is to put off studying until a couple weeks beforehand. There’s no way you’ll be able to absorb several ACT books’ worth of material in a condensed amount of time. If you feel you’re falling behind, try to choose at least one book to become an expert on (preferably by Kaplan or another reputable company). Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Be accountable.

Create an accountability group with friends. Compare strengths and weaknesses, describe major concepts to each other and do “teach-backs” to see how well you know the material. This will help relieve stress since it’s social studying and you’ll find yourself studying in longer chunks! More importantly, set weekly goals and check in with your classmates. Are you meeting them?

Just start.

Sometimes the first step is the hardest to take. Get those admission essay “terrible drafts” done early. Most midterms and finals involve term papers or essays of some kind, and all your college applications will require one. Even if you don’t know the prompts yet, you can probably anticipate them. Write some “bad versions” of these essays at home and send them to friends for feedback. Give yourself permission to write poorly at first. Who cares if your grammar is terrible, or your ideas on the material and trite and unordinary? You’ll be so much more prepared for these midterms and finals if you’ve been brainstorming and practicing formulating your thoughts weeks in advance!


The more prepared you are walking into the exam room on Test Day, the less anxiety you will feel. Start studying early, stick to a schedule, and remember to include some time to just relax!


About Magoosh ACT

Magoosh is a company of passionate educators, located in Berkeley, CA. We are here to provide you with everything you need to prep for the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @Magoosh.

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