There is a common statistic that human attention spans are decreasing, and are now at 8 seconds, less than a goldfish’s attention span. This statistic, however, can not be linked back to a particular source, according to an article from the BBC. While often cited, the author of this article could not trace the statistic back to a reliable study or survey. Dr Gemma Briggs, a psychology lecturer at the Open University was quoted in the article saying, “How much attention we apply to a task will vary depending on what the task demand is.” This is good news for all SAT and ACT test takers. No matter what pop culture says about your attention span, you have the ability to focus on the task at hand. The more you work to increase your focus and stamina, the easier it will be to focus on test day.
Deep breathing focuses your mind and body. Taking a few deep breaths will help release nervous energy. It also increases oxygen to the brain, giving you the mental energy you need. Practice deep breathing every time you sit down to study so that you will be able to use it to focus on exam day.
Forbes suggests exercising for 20 minutes every morning, before you start your day to improve focus and concentration. Exercise improves blood flow throughout your body, helping you stay more alert and focused. It also reduces stress and gives you a healthy outlet for anxiety. You can go for a walk, take a bike ride, or work out at the gym. Make daily exercise a habit for increased stamina, both physically and mentally.
We are not talking about the fats and oils you find in potato chips and butter. We are talking about Omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts, fish, avocados, and eggs, are especially good sources of this healthy fat. These foods will energize your brain rather than rob you of energy. Instead of skittles and potato chips, fuel up with trail mix or guacamole.
Visualization is often used by athletes to boost confidence and performance. WebMD suggests it can be used by everyone to improve mental stamina and boost confidence. When you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, take a moment to visualize your past successes and achievements. This will reset your brain to a more positive, confident state, ideal for tackling a long exam.
Develop Healthy Habits
Everyone has what it takes to focus on a long exam. Increase your stamina through positive, healthy habits. Start developing these habits long before test day so that you can stick with it and perform your best throughout the exam.