So, it’s 2020 and you may have heard of mindfulness. It’s often lauded as a tool to help with anxiety, low moods, or even ADHD. Mindfulness is when a person is in a state of active, open attention to the present, and can be improved with meditation. Basically, it’s a way to calm your mind and focus on what’s around you. So, how do you apply it to the SAT?
Make It A Habit
Don’t start practicing mindfulness only on the SAT; start doing it in your day to day life. Start with a basic meditation exercise. Take a moment every morning or evening to clear your mind of thoughts and exist in the present moment. Focus on something in the present moment, like your breathing or where your body is in the room and allow your mind to rest there. If any unwanted thoughts come to mind, don’t fight them. You’ll only engage in it more. Just let it pass on its way, and don’t interact with it further. Do the same thing if you find your thoughts going on a tangent. Gently say “later” to yourself, and wrap it up and let it go. You’re only paying attention to where you are right here, right now.
At first, you might want to set a timer for two minutes, and then push yourself to go a little longer and longer each time, like building a muscle. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, as you acclimate to clearing your thoughts, but it’s a skill that you build over time. Keep up the practice, and it will become more comfortable.
Practice Mindfulness While You Practice the SAT
While you practice the SAT, also practice mindfulness. This means staying focused on the current moment, and letting go of any thoughts that aren’t related to the problems in front of you. Again, don’t fight the thoughts, just let them pass, and gently bring yourself back to what’s in front of you. Approach the SAT like you’re taking a walk: methodically, and taking one step at a time. The more you relax and focus while you practice, the easier it will come on the actual SAT.
Keep in mind that mindfulness will do a lot, but you still need physical and mental breaks. Take some time every hour to physically and mentally stretch. If you don’t stretch your neck and back after studying for a while, you can end up being distracted from neck and back pain.
Take A Moment During the SAT
If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and unfocused, it can actually be more efficient to take a moment to collect yourself rather than try and push yourself through the test panicked and unfocused. Let go of the panicking thoughts and focus on where you are right there and then. Step away from the panic spiral and what might happen, let go of those thoughts, and shift your focus to your control over what is happening. A minute of mindfulness will cost you less time than the inefficiency of trying to take on the rest of the SAT unfocused.
Make Use of the SAT Breaks
Use the breaks to take a moment of mindfulness as well. Of course, take care of any physical needs first: use the restroom, eat your snacks, and stretch. If you have any time left over, however, the breaks are a prime time to practice a moment of mindfulness to focus and relax yourself again.
That’s all! Now go out and be mindful during the SAT. I believe in you! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.