Specific Relaxation Techniques Before the ACT

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Be prepared. The old Scout Motto has been repeated for generations for a good reason: It works. The more prepared you feel, the less likely you are to be stressed on test day. Do your studying and practice consistently during your training period. Be organized. Have your supplies and wardrobe ready in advance. Make a practice trip to the test center before your test day.

Know yourself. This means knowing your strengths and weaknesses on the ACT as well as the ways that help you to relax. Some test takers like to have a bit of anxiety that helps them to focus. Others are best off when they are so relaxed that they are almost asleep. You will learn about yourself through practice.

Get enough rest.InMacbeth, Shakespeare described sleep as the thing that ''knits up the ravel'd sleave of care,'' meaning that the better rested you are, the better things seem. As you get fatigued, you are more likely to look on the dark side of things and worry more.

Eat well. Excess sugar is bad for stress and for brain function in general. Pouring tons of refined sugar into your system creates biological stress that has an impact on your brain chemistry. Add in some caffeine, as many soda manufacturers do, and you are only magnifying the problem. If you are actually addicted to caffeine (you get headaches when you skip a day), then get your normal dosage but no extra.

Listen to music. Some types of music increase measured brain stress and interfere with clear thinking. Specifically, some rock, hip-hop, and dance rhythms, while great for certain occasions, can have detrimental effects on certain types of brain waves that have been measured in labs. Other music seems to help to organize brain waves and create a relaxed state that is conducive to learning and skills acquisition.

The Mozart effect. There is a great debate raging among scientists and educators about a study that was done some years ago, which seemed to show that listening to Mozart made students temporarily more intelligent. While not everyone agrees that it helps, no one has ever seriously argued that it hurts. So, get yourself a Mozart CD and listen to it before practice and before your real test. It might help. In the worst-case scenario, you will have listened to some good music and maybe broadened your horizons a bit. You cannot listen to musicduringyour ACT exam, so do not listen to it during your practice tests.

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