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Traits Of Students That Excel Under The Stress Of Taking Tests

Most students face some kind of stress when taking an important exam such as the SAT. This stress can cause a student to become overwhelmed and possibly perform poorly on the exam, not due to lack of knowledge, but the inability to cope with the stress and focus on the exam. However, there are also students who thrive in this environment and can excel on a test even when facing stress.

If you can understand the traits of students that excel when facing stress, you can learn to perform better when you are feeling stressed. Here are four traits of students that excel even when facing the pressure of a major exam.

1) Confidence

Even though a student may feel stressed they don’t let it shake their confidence. They know they are prepared for the exam and have the skills to perform well. Test Anxiety Tips, states that the best way to overcome exam anxiety is to know that you have prepared as much as possible and you have a firm grasp on all of the material.

In a timed exam you cannot continually second-guess yourself. You must pick an answer and stick with it. In order to do this well you must feel confident about your understanding of the question and knowledge of the correct answer.

2) Focus

Some students let stress distract them by placing their focus on their stress rather than the exam. Other students use their stress and adrenaline to help them focus on the exam. Focus is key for reading all the way through a question to arrive at the correct answer. Focus is also important for persevering through difficult reading passages and writing coherent essays. Too much distraction can prevent you from finishing the exam during the allotted time.

3) Preparedness

Students that know they feel stressed during exams can prepare themselves and develop the tools they need to work through their stress. These tools include deep breathing and quickly jotting down anxieties.

US News suggests that leading up to the test students who feel stressed can relieve the stress through eating well and physical exercise. A student that is prepared to deal with the stress that comes with taking an exam is more likely to do well on it.

4) Methodical

Students that approach the test with a specific method in mind will be more likely to excel. Their method can provide them with a way to approach the test so they won’t feel lost when they begin the exam. Knowing your methods will help you remain calm so that when you are faced with a particularly difficult question you will know exactly how to handle it.

There are various methods that can be used successfully on the SAT. You can skip the questions you don’t know and go back to them if you have time. Or, you can work to eliminate the wrong answers, allowing you to make an informed guess. Another option is to look over the section quickly and start with the most familiar material to boost your confidence as you progress.

It doesn’t matter what your method is as long as it works for you. You may need to take the practice test several times to discover the best method for you. Then, take it a few more times to practice using your method. In the midst of stress you can fall back on your method so you can automatically do what you practiced, rather than spend time feeling panicked.

Excel in the Face of Stress

Anyone can learn to excel when facing pressure. Some of these traits can be innate, but all of them can also be learned. If you call yourself a “bad test taker,”know what causes your stress and find the tools you need to become a good test taker.

Knowing how to manage your stress and succeed in the face of stress is a skill that will be helpful throughout your life. Mr. Test Prep can help you develop the tools and confidence you need to perform well on the SAT even when you are feeling stressed.


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Mr. Test Prep strives to prepare students with his San Jose SAT Prep program. When students engage in his San Jose SAT Prep program their scores reflect the hard work and dedication put forth. Call Mr. Test Prep today and be prepared!

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