The Importance of Mindset in the SAT and ACT

Kids always laugh at me when I tell them about having the right mindset when taking the SAT or ACT.

“Mr. Kirby, we did your tests. We listened to your silly jokes – surely we are ready for the exam?”

Well, no?

There is another fundamental element that needs to be addressed before you actually take the exam – your mental fitness. These are long, difficult exams. There is a lot riding on your success or failure when you pick up your pencil and begin answering questions. You need to know this, but you also need to know how to have the proper mindset when you are sitting in that room all by yourself and the clock is ticking.

This is where having the right mindset comes in.

It might sound hyperbolic, but you need to have a Warrior mindset for these tests. You can’t be afraid. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t feel overwhelmed. This is a fight and since you can’t run away, your only chance is to confront the test and fight! You need to be confident that you can beat this test!

If you waver, you’re lost.

Where can you gain this confidence, and why is this not hubris or arrogance? Confidence comes from preparation and effort. No athlete in the world just one day rolls out of bed and says “you know what? I think today I will run a personal best time”.

Doesn’t happen.

There are many months, even years of training leading up until that point. It is the same with standardized tests. It is a simple formula:

Practice -> Confidence -> The Warrior Mindset

When you walk into that testing venue, you need to reflect back on how far you have come. How many hours you have put into practice. How many wrong answers you reviewed. How many practice tests you took.

You owe yourself a solid test! This is not about doing your best – that is a loser mindset. This is about you getting what you deserve! You worked for it. You’re owed it! You are showing up to the test to get the score you deserve.

This is a crucial aspect of test taking that is too often ignored.

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