How to Deal with SAT Exam Jitters and Stress

The SAT exam is a standardized test used by colleges and universities in the United States as part of the admissions process. The test consists of four sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math, and an optional Essay.

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With so much riding on the exam results, it's common for students to experience stress and anxiety leading up to and during the test.

Managing stress and anxiety during the SAT exam is essential for performing your best and achieving your goals. High stress and anxiety levels can interfere with your ability to think clearly, focus, and recall important information. In this article, we'll explore some tips and strategies for managing SAT exam jitters and stress and how an SAT tutor can provide personalized guidance and support. By learning how to manage your stress and anxiety, you can confidently approach the SAT exam and increase your chances of success.


Understanding SAT Exam Jitters. Why it Happens

The SAT exam is a high-stakes test that can determine a student's academic future. The pressure to perform well on the exam can cause stress and anxiety in many students, leading to what is commonly known as SAT exam jitters. Understanding the causes of SAT exam jitters and stress and identifying the symptoms and signs are crucial steps in addressing them.


Typical Causes of Exam Jitters and Stress:

The causes of SAT exam jitters and stress are numerous and can vary from student to student. Some common causes include:

  • Fear of failure: Many students put too much pressure on themselves to achieve a high score, creating an intense fear of failure.

  • Lack of preparation: Students unprepared for the exam may feel overwhelmed, leading to anxiety.

  • Parental or societal pressure: Pressure from parents, peers, or society to succeed on the SAT exam can also contribute to exam jitters and stress.


Common Symptoms and Signs:

The symptoms and signs of SAT exam jitters and stress can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

  • Increased heart rate or sweating

  • Headaches, stomach aches, or other physical discomforts

  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing

  • Negative thoughts and self-talk


Importance of Identifying and Addressing Jitters and Stress:

Identifying and addressing SAT exam jitters and stress is crucial to ensuring students perform at their best on exam day. If left unaddressed, exam jitters can cause poor performance, negatively impacting a student's college admissions prospects. In addition, unmanaged stress and anxiety can also negatively affect mental and physical health, which is why it is essential to address them as soon as possible. The following section will provide tips for managing SAT exam jitters and stress.


Tips for Managing Exam Jitters and Stress

Preparing ahead of time and adopting effective stress-management techniques can help you feel more confident and less anxious on the day of the SAT exam. Here are some tips to help you manage SAT exam jitters and stress:

  1. Prepare ahead of time: It's essential to start SAT prep well in advance to avoid last-minute stress. Create a study schedule, practice regularly, and use reliable study materials to build your confidence and knowledge.

  2. Time management techniques: Time pressure is one of the most significant stressors during the SAT exam. Use time management techniques such as pacing yourself, keeping track of time, and knowing when to move on from a question to help you manage your time effectively.

  3. Mindfulness exercises: Mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing, meditation, and visualization can help you calm your mind and reduce anxiety. Practice these techniques regularly to build your resilience to stress.

  4. Relaxation techniques: Physical symptoms of stress, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and tight muscles can interfere with your performance during the SAT exam. Use relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or stretching to alleviate these symptoms.

  5. Positive Mindset: Your mindset can significantly impact your performance during the SAT exam. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations such as "I am prepared for this exam" or "I am confident in my abilities" to build your confidence and reduce negative thoughts.

Adopting these tips makes you feel more prepared, calm, and confident during the SAT exam. However, if you are still struggling with stress and anxiety, seeking the help of an SAT tutor can provide you with personalized guidance and support to help you manage your exam jitters and stress, explained further in the following section.


How an SAT Tutor Can Help

Working with an SAT tutor can provide many benefits for managing exam jitters and stress. Here are some ways an SAT tutor can help:

  • Personalized guidance: An SAT tutor can provide one-on-one coaching tailored to the individual student's needs and learning style. This can help students better understand the SAT exam and build their confidence in their abilities.

  • Test-taking strategies: An SAT tutor can teach students effective test-taking methods, such as time management techniques and ways to approach different types of questions. These strategies can help students feel more prepared and in control during the exam.

  • Practice and feedback: An SAT tutor can provide students with practice tests and exercises to help them familiarize themselves with the exam format and identify areas where they need improvement. Tutors can also provide constructive feedback and guidance to help students address these areas.

  • Stress and anxiety management: An SAT tutor can provide students with coping mechanisms to manage exam jitters and stress. This may include relaxation techniques, mindfulness exercises, and positive self-talk to help students stay calm and focused during the exam.



Managing SAT exam jitters and stress is crucial for achieving success on the exam. By understanding the causes of stress and anxiety and employing effective stress-management techniques, students can reduce the impact of these feelings on their exam performance. Seeking help from an experienced SAT tutor can also be incredibly beneficial. An SAT tutor can provide personalized guidance and support, helping students identify and address their stressors and develop effective strategies for managing exam jitters and stress.

I understand the challenges that students face when preparing for the SAT exam. That's why I offer personalized tutoring services tailored to an individual student's needs and learning styles. I provide expert guidance and support, helping students build confidence, reduce stress, and achieve their best exam scores.

Master the the SATs and ACTs with the best examination prep experience anywhere. One-on-One sessions with Brian Leaf. The best-selling author of 10 SAT/ACT prep books.


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