• Beth & Tim Manners

Stress Test: How Brain Chemistry Affects Scores

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

The Washington Post: “Many a student has looked on in dismay as some ‘slacker’ who seems to barely engage in school rocks the SAT, leaving more-studious and high-achieving classmates slack-jawed or teary … As it turns out, some people underperform with more pressure, while others overperform. Depending on how the brains of different students process stress and brain chemicals such as dopamine, it is indeed like taking different tests.”


“… One of the best solutions for worriers is as simple as more practice, with some stress … Moreover, both the SAT and ACT allow kids to know and control their scores. The College Board allows score choice, which nearly all colleges follow, permitting kids to submit just what they want. And many colleges ‘super-score,’ giving kids the benefit of their best score and sweeping aside scores from an off day. Similarly, the ACT even allows students to delete scores permanently from their record, giving students ultimate control of their scores.”


“Another way to decrease a sense of threat is to visit FairTest, the website of the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing, to see the more than 1,000 colleges that are test-optional.”

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