ACT Anxiety

Student shares tips for dealing with testing pressure


Brynn Friesen, Web Editor

The race to the end of the year has multiple students gearing up for summer, but for juniors, they prepare for the ACT and SAT.

Junior Ellie Graham felt the burden of studying for her exams, knowing many of her fellow classmates felt the same.

“There’s a lot of pressure on kids, especially high school students, to score well, just because emphasis is placed on ACT [and] SAT test scores from a very young age,” Graham said. “Especially in the Blue Valley district, where expectations are so high, students feel very pressured to score well.”

Graham tries to think happy thoughts when it comes to standardized testing so she doesn’t stress herself out.

“It’s a universal struggle,” she said. “All the juniors and seniors who are taking it are going to be feeling this way so I [find] solace in that.”

The ACT requires studying to get a decent score and Graham makes sure to keep up with her preparations.

“I’ve definitely been studying the past couple weeks [for] 20-30 minutes each night as best I can,” she said.

Going into testing, Graham set goals for herself.

“Scoring wise, I’m trying to get a 30 or above,” Graham said. “Other than that, [I’m] taking it as strategically as possible and feeling more prepared.”

Her advice to others is to feel calm and composed going into the test and keeping a positive perspective on the ACT.

“Remember that everybody’s going to go through it at some point,” Graham said. “Start studying early, whether it’s for 10 minutes at night or just a couple times a week, getting any preparation. I think [this] can help people feel a lot more confident going in.”

From her experience, Graham has realized she doesn’t need to worry too much about the test and can calmly focus on achieving her goals.

“If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that focusing on myself is more important,” Graham said. “Acknowledging that, yes, this test is going to happen, and, yes, it’s important, but in the end, I’m going to be fine either way.”