Test prep is part of every high school student’s life, whether they’re focusing on college entrance exams or preparing for AP course exams, it can be hard to stay focused on what many consider to be a dry subject. Learning about and loving a subject and taking a test on that subject are two very different things. Additionally, anxiety and stress can also get in the way of test prep, adding an extra layer of difficulty. Luckily, there are a few tried and true tips to help focus during test prep.

One Thing at a Time

High school students can easily feel like they’re being pulled in a million different directions, and they wouldn’t be wrong. What’s expected of teens at this age is pretty intense. One of the best things students can do when they sit down to study for one of these important exams is to just take things one at a time. A concrete way students can do this is to create an outline for their study sessions just as they would for writing an essay. If students are unsure of how much time to dedicate to each task they can sit down with their tutor and make that outline together. 

Celebrate Your Wins

Test prep can feel like a negative experience after a while. Most of what is focused on is what the student needs to improve upon. Although performance is an important aspect of test prep, it’s really essential for students to celebrate their wins. Perhaps they wanted to improve by 10 points but only improved by 5, for example. There are multiple ways to look at that. Improving in any amount is a great thing and is a demonstration of a student’s hard work. 

Take Notes on Essential Items

Many students will benefit from asking for advice from their tutor on how to take notes effectively. Generally speaking, students will either take notes on anything and everything, often becoming overwhelmed and frustrated early in their study session, or they will take notes on almost nothing, leaving out the most important items. Learning how to take notes on essential items, and what those essential items consist of, can be tough but it’s definitely a lifelong skill worth learning. 

Create a Low Stress Environment

Creating a low stress environment is easier said than done. There is nothing low key about preparing for entrance exams, or any test for that matter. However, the less stress a student feels, the more they’re likely to be successful. Stress and anxiety take up a lot of space in the brain, where students could otherwise store important information to help them be successful on their exams. Students can talk with their tutor, classroom teacher, or family member to help them identify their stress triggers and how to best cope with them. It’s also important to remember that each student is an individual, and what works for one person might not work for another. 

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