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ACT Anxiety and Sleep Issues

ElleLakesElleLakes 67 replies7 threads Junior Member
Hi All,


I have worked really hard in high school. I get good grades; I have an amazing summer internship.

However, I can't get the ACT score I want (I would love a 34). I have become so anxious about the ACT exam, I can barely sleep. For the past month, I have been walking up frequently through the night to go to the bathroom too. I have not had an 8 hour night of sleep for the past month and a half. I feel nauseous, irritable, and I can't focus.

I took the exam in April, and I slept only four hours over the course of four days because I was so nervous. Ironically, I was scoring in the mid-30s (33 composites on the two prior full-lengths tests), so I knew rationally I had nothing to worry about. On the test, I was so deprived I scored a 29, which is significantly lower than any of my prior practice tests.

Now, I am taking the ACT again in two weeks, and I am still having trouble sleeping. I am wondering, has anyone else had this issue? If so, what have they done to combat short term insomnia? I can't even function anymore! I take 1 mg of melatonin nightly too, meditate, relax, shut off screens, the whole nine yards. I'm desperate, and I feel SUPER sick.

I am wondering, how did you calm your nerves before the exam? How did you manage to sleep 8 hours before the test too?

Thanks! Keep on producing amazing content.
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Replies to: ACT Anxiety and Sleep Issues

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2569 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited May 27
    It is normal to experience test anxiety, but seems like you are experiencing more anxiety with this test as compared to typical school tests/finals? It sounds like you have already tried some remedies...I would encourage you to speak with a psychologist to learn some coping strategies, whether a counselor at school or a private one.

    Other things you might try:
    Completely eliminate caffeine and alcohol
    Don't drink fluids close to bed time
    Get plenty of exercise, every day
    Change the narrative in your brain regarding this test--it's no different than any other final you have successfully taken, you are well prepared for it, a test score does not define you....find a message that comforts you.


    Edited to add: I am confused based on your prior threads whether you are the parent or student. Also, I thought you/your D applied to schools this past cycle, for 2019 enrollment.
    edited May 27
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  • ElleLakesElleLakes 67 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @Mwfan1921. I tried a lot of those natural remedies. I am a really good student and I never get test anxiety normally, it is just this test.

    I don't really know about the prior posts. I just found CC logged on our family room computer, and I decided to leave a post. This is honestly my first time on the site, so I can't really comment on prior postings. The website is kinda confusing in its format. I know my mom loves this website though. Maybe those we hers... sorry?
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  • happy1happy1 23059 replies2279 threads Senior Member
    edited May 27
    In addition to the suggestions above (including a therapist if needed), I would stay away from TV, computer, cellphones for a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep. Read a book or something instead.

    It may sound odd, but one thing that kept my daughter (who can get anxious) calm was looking through the list of test optional colleges (listed in state order here https://www.fairtest.org/university/optional/state) -- she found that a number of her top schools were on that list so it made the standardized testing seem less critical.

    edited May 27
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  • deneuralyzerdeneuralyzer 58 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited November 2
    .
    edited November 2
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  • rosemaryandthymerosemaryandthyme 61 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I think it would be good to talk to your doctor. I know a few kids who were prescribed the beta blocker, propranolol, as a non-addictive short term solution for test anxiety (or public speaking, etc.). Because it keeps you from having the physical symptoms of stress, it can actually help your body train itself to become less stressed. Several people I know who took it before every high stakes test no longer need it, as the propranolol helped their self-calming techniques to be more effective. This may not be right for you, but talking to your doctor would be a good first step anyway.

    Good luck.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6933 replies60 threads Senior Member
    This sounds like you need more than a little reassurance. Go talk to your Mom & ask for outside help.

    Also, ‘I just walked in the room and saw it signed on?’ Really?
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