Conquering Test Anxiety
For High School Students
Know the Test Format
The ACT and ACT Aspire are timed, computer-based tests. Both exams consist of five sections: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing.
ACT Aspire includes multiple choice, multiple select, interactive, and fill in the blank question types, plus one essay.
Complete the sample test to see the different styles of questions for yourself (Select Exemplars to find the sample tests).
The ACT includes only multiple choice questions and one writing prompt.
Complete a full practice test to experience the exam for yourself. All multiple choice sections of the practice test will let you know how many questions you got correct at the end.
AzSCI (for 11th graders) is an untimed exam consisting of 60 multiple choice, multiple select, interactive, and fill in the blank question types.
Tools such as a highlighter, an answer eliminator, and a calculator will be provided within the testing platform. Experience these test tools by taking the practice tests online!
Students academically prepare for testing all year in their classes, but it is important to also mentally prepare for the testing experience. Click the button above for resources to help your student navigate different emotional states.
Since students are accustom to working in a specific setting on a daily basis, it is important to support students by sending them to testing prepared. While ASUPD will provide all testing materials, some students just like using their own stuff!
During testing, you may wish to send students with the following items:
- Water bottle
- Calculator (See ACT Calculator Guidance)
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Fidget device (so long as it does not distract others)
Have a Plan
The exam is typically structured so that the more challenging questions are at the end of the exam. This means you may wish to focus your attention on doing especially well with the first half of the questions for a given section. When you get to more challenging questions, consider how you might narrow down options for those questions. Planning to spend equal time on each question is actually a bad test-taking strategy because the question difficulty increase over time.
These are all situations you can plan for in advance so you can focus your mental energy on the test questions.