How to Overcome SAT/ACT Test Anxiety

With the SAT on June 3rd and the ACT on June 10th, these tips can help your student(s) become less stressed before the big day

Test anxiety is something that many college bound students experience. Even though test scores are just one piece of the college admissions puzzle, many students worry about taking the SAT and ACT.

For many students, anxiety comes from low confidence. The best way to combat low confidence before a test is to prepare. Here are some tips to overcome your text anxiety.

1. Know what to expect

Instead of going into the test blindly, learn about the test. At the very least, learn a bit about the format of the test so that you know what to expect. But, it’s best to try your hand at a past year or practice test.

Both the SAT and the ACT offer sample questions and tests. Learn about the material that will be covered on the exams. Take a few time practice tests so you can see where you need to study further.

2. Study in advance

Don’t wait until the last minute to start studying for the test. Instead, start studying a few months prior so that by the time the test rolls around, you’ll be ready.

Take advantage of test prep resources that offer sample questions, test tips, and other information about the college entrance exams. If you can’t afford to pay for an expensive test prep service, there are still many free resources available online or at your local library.

3. Know the test location

If you are not familiar with the test location, take a trip to the location before the test. You don’t want to get lost on the way to the test and arrive late, this will help reduce any extra stress from having to find your way on the day of the test.

4. Prepare required items the night before

Prepare all of the items on the SAT or ACT test day checklist the night before so you’re not searching for them the morning of the test.

This means you’ll need to have your ID, admissions ticket, No. 2 pencils, eraser, and calculator (if allowed) ready to take to the test in the morning. Again, less stress before the test will help boost your confidence and let you focus on what really matters.

5. Go to bed early

Think about it. When you’re tired, it’s harder to concentrate. Do your best to go to sleep as early as is needed for you to wake up in the morning feeling well rested.

6. Sleep where you’re most comfortable

Even though you should avoid cramming before the test, you’ll probably do some last minute studying the night before. Don’t go overboard and fall asleep where you’re studying. You won’t sleep well with your head down on your desk or on the kitchen table.

Do your best to get to your own bed, which is probably the place you will feel most comfortable. Sleeping where you’re most comfortable will help you to feel fully rested and ready for the test in the morning.

7. Set your alarm

This probably goes without saying, but make sure you set your alarm. If you use your phone like most of us do for an alarm, set a few alarms just in case you accidentally dismiss your alarm instead of pressing snooze.

If you’re the type of person who has a hard time waking up in the morning, it might be worth it to put your alarm across the room, forcing you to get out of bed. Or, consider having your parents or a friend serve a backup human alarm. You don’t want to wake up late and rush while getting ready, or even worse, sleep through the start of the exam.

8. Eat a good breakfast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that is especially true when you’re taking the SAT or ACT. Eating a good meal helps you to feel good and will help your cognitive skills. Eat a healthy breakfast and skip the sugary foods and drink.

9. Stay positive

Negativity leads to anxiety. As soon as you start having any negative thoughts about the test, stop yourself from thinking those things. Instead, keep telling yourself that you can do it. It is also important to stay away from other negative or anxious test takers (or share these tips with them). When you hear others being negative, it makes it easier to think negative thoughts yourself.

Don’t let test anxiety get the best of you. Prepare before the test, stay positive, and take care of yourself. By doing these things, your anxiety will ease and you’ll feel better as you are approaching and taking the exam.

How to Register for the SAT

As the SAT deadline approaches, if you haven’t already registered your child here’s how

Are you wondering how to register your child for the SAT? Here’s the basic information you need to know about the SAT registration process.

  • Students have two registration options: online registration and postal mail registration. To register your child online, go to the College Board website. To register your child by mail, your child must get an SAT Paper Registration Guide from the college guidance office at his or her school.

When registering online, registration fees must be paid via credit card. If you prefer to write a check, your child must register by postal mail.

  • Regular registration deadlines are typically about three to four weeks before a test date. Late registration deadlines are typically about two to three weeks before a test date. Visit our SAT Test Dates page to view the regular and late registration deadlines for specific test dates.
  • The basic SAT registration fee is $43, while the SAT with Essay is $54.50. The late registration fee is an additional $28. Visit our SAT Registration Fees page for more fee information. If you cannot afford to pay the SAT registration fee, your child may be eligible for a fee waiver. Visit the College Board website to find out more about fee waiver eligibility.

6 Questions to Ask When Making a Final College Decision

As the deadline nears, contemplate these points to make the best choice.

By Julie Mayfield and Lindsey Mayfield | March 27, 2012

As one of the rites of spring, high school seniors everywhere are in the process of making a college decision. As the May 1 deadline draws ever closer, a different approach may be necessary to make the final decision.

[Find out how to make a college decision as a family.]

Asking these six questions may help you to choose a college:


1. How will outside scholarships be treated?  Sometimes, students work hard to secure outside scholarships, only to find that any that they obtain will reduce the amount of aid they’re receiving from the school. If your child has applied for—or possibly already received—outside scholarships, this could be a deciding factor for your family.

[Find out other ways to pay for college.]

2. What does our high school counselor recommend? The last time your child spoke to the high school counselor may have been much earlier in the decision process. Now that decision time is near and the college choices have been narrowed down, a high school counselor may have some new observations or questions to ask that will help with the decision.

[Ask your counselor these four questions.]

3. How does a second campus visit compare? If feasible, schedule additional campus visits at your child’s top two choices. Now that you are almost to the point of making a decision, the way you view a school will be different than it was when you were just shopping. In addition, you’ll likely meet different people, have a different tour guide, and so forth. That will give you new perspectives as well.

If an actual visit isn’t possible for time or financial reasons, take advantage of the features colleges offer on their websites today, like virtual tours.

[Come along for a virtual ride on the U.S. News college road trips.]


1. What are the pros and cons of each college? You may love the athletic atmosphere at one school, but does it really stack up against the good academics, housing, and social life of another school? Make sure your decision is based on a well-rounded choice, and that you consider all aspects of college life, instead of just a “dream aspect" of one school.

[Find out more about ranking your college priorities.]

2. What do those close to me think? Avoid asking for too many opinions. Letting everyone get his or her two cents in about your college choice can confuse much more than it clarifies. Have your college conversations with a small group of close connections, such as your parents and college counselor.

Don’t let everyone’s opinions about your top schools sway your opinion. In the end, your school should be a good fit for you, not your friends.

3. What feels like the total package? Go with your gut, but only to a point. In the end, hopefully you’ll know where you belong. Don’t follow your instincts without regard to cost, academics, or distance from home, however. Try to select a school that is the total package and has many aspects that you enjoy.

Make sure your school has backup majors, plenty of interesting extracurriculars, and an atmosphere you’ll enjoy for four years.

Transcend Academy Receives 2017 Best of Washington Award

Transcend Academy has been selected for the 2017 Best of Washington Award in the Education Services category by the Washington Award Program.

Each year, the Washington Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Washington area a great place to live, work and play.