5 Ways to Decrease Stress from SATs (and all other tests)

Arguably the most intense and stress-inducing time period of any student’s career, the SATs (or any other similar tests for that matter) can set you back if you don’t use your prep time adequately. Let us help you make it through with flying colors this year with our short list of tips designed to help you make the most of your last week. Even if you aren’t writing the SATs this year, follow this guide and you’ll be one step ahead of your peers!


Photo by Vadim Sherbakov

1.    Get Organized

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually a lot easier said than done. Sure, you can get all the books you need and stack them on your desk, but at the end of the day that intimidating stack of books will lead you to procrastinate and head off to Tumblr for some later-night “studying”. However, modern technology actually does more than just providing distractions. Get your ebooks organized, or just simply scan your class notes with Kdan’s PDF Reader Mac or PDF Reader for iOS and Android to save your time rummaging through the important information.

Break your subjects up into more manageable portions and go at them one subject at a time. Multitasking or switching between subjects is the wrong approach when you’re dealing with, well, anything in life. Don’t take our word for it, trust science and take your time. You’ll thank yourself later.


Photo by Olu Eletu

2.    Find your iPad/Tablet and Go Digital

If you’re dealing primarily with books then see if you can get access to a digital version of the book instead! There are two main benefits you’ll reap from going digital. First, you can adjust the backlight on study materials. Optimizing your light source can boost performance while reducing eye stress – not so possible when you’re dealing with a heavy textbook. If you’re using an Android device we suggest F.Lux, but if you’re on the iOS you’ll have to manually adjust lighting or try this neat trick.  Or how about trying Text-to-Speech and letting your mobile device read the documents out loud to you?

The second advantage of going PDF is that the right app can boost productivity. Our PDF reader (free!) allows you to do that pretty well and if you want to go the extra mile, Connoisseur can read your text out loud so you can make your notes while listening. Remember: multitasking is bad, but if last night was your third night in a row on Tumblr you might be out of options!


Photo by William Iven

3.    Make Neat Notes – and Review Them!

For those of you who don’t know the “Forgetting Curve” take a minute to give it a quick look. When reviewing your notes, you’ll want to make sure they’re legible. As a modern student you’re most likely typing, or if you’re a master of tech, using a note-taking app. Great notes must balance content and memory triggering strategies. Pictures, songs and videos are great ways to help with retention, but unfortunately are not easy to transfer into your typical notebook.

On the day of your exam, the last thing you want is your stress to cause memory blanks. Take the smarter way and have everything prepared in the way that will help you most on exam day. Click here to see just how big of a difference a great note-taking app can make in your future. If you haven’t already downloaded the Reader, do that now so you can instantly add text to your notes.


Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

4.    Collaboration is the Stuff of Growth

We can all thank Sir Ken Robinson for that little nugget of wisdom. Not only will collaborating with your peers help in reducing stress, it will help you be more prepared for exam day. Going solo is a surefire way to ensure test-day jitters. As long as you don’t go too far off topic, group collaboration is proven to increase retention. Did we say trust science already? Oh, well then, trust it again, this time with the “Learning Pyramid”. Now, while you’re already out, remember to…


Photo by Yaoqi LAI

5.    Take Lots of Breaks

Cramming is probably the worst thing you can do when studying for any exam. As discussed above, learning happens over time and cramming forces your body to do the opposite. Take a lot of breaks and spend time away from the tablet. You’ll allow your brain the time it needs to absorb the information you want it to and reduce the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. When test day is just around the corner, your mind will be refreshed and ready to take on anything the exam will throw your way!

We hope these tips helped you feel a little more focused and prepared for your exam! Look below for the links to our apps and subscribe, comment and share if this helped you feel more prepared!

Good luck from Kdan!

PDF Reader

PDF Connoisseur

NoteLedge Ultimate

Feature image by Jeff Sheldon