Hunter College High School Admissions Test | How to Stay Calm and Cool when You Take the Exam

It can be challenging for students to sit through an exam that could change their lives for the next six years. The Hunter test is competitive and has high stakes, but that does not mean that test-takers should stress out over the results. Using some simple strategies before the test and during the exam can help students feel more comfortable on test day. 

Hunter College High School Admissions Test | Before the Test

Some students get nervous the day before big tests, and that’s understandable. During the week leading up the exam, test-takers should make sure to get a decent amount of sleep each night. Eating healthy food, particularly foods with extra protein, will help students keep up their stamina and brain power during the exam. A hearty pre-test breakfast is also a wise choice, both because it fuels students up and because it helps the day feel a little more normal. Filling up with a meal that includes whole grains, eggs, or fruits with lots of fiber will help students stay full during the test. Concentrating on an empty stomach is never fun, so test-takers should make sure they’re comfortable before the exam. 

Hunter College High School Admissions Test | During the Exam

The Hunter test takes three hours, and that’s a long time for middle school students to stay focused without getting overwhelmed. Using some mindfulness techniques can help test-takers stay focused and calm during the exam. A study reported on by the New York Times showed how meditation and mindfulness practices can help improve test scores, so there’s an extra incentive for students to learn these techniques.

At first when students start an exam, they may want to jump right in, but they may still feel anxious. Everyone knows what this kind of test anxiety is like, and it’s not fun. Taking a few deep breaths before reading a single exam question will help test-takers feel more focused on the work ahead, and it’ll help put students at ease. 

Whenever there is a challenging question, students should use this same breathing technique. Instead of wasting time and panicking when a student doesn’t know an answer, he or she should use that time to get calm before moving on. While it might seem like a waste of precious seconds, the time students can save by staying attentive will shave off minutes later. 

Positive self-talk can also help students when they encounter tough questions. Sometimes kids see a difficult problem and immediately think “I can’t do this,” or “I should give up,” or “I’ll never belong at this school.” That kind of attitude hurts students. Instead, test-takers should think “I studied for this,” I’m going to ace this,” and “I’ll figure this out.” A positive attitude can help reduce stress and make students feel better during the test. 

Hunter College Admissions Test | Are You Considering Test Prep for Hunter test?

Preparation for the Hunter High School Entrance Exam does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation can be transformative and last a lifetime. 

Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the Hunter test, but  they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus. Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner. 

All students who work with Origins Tutoring undergo a diagnostic evaluation and are provided with full-length 'sample' Hunter practice tests. You can also access for free one of our sample tests here: 

Call 917.287.7927 for a complimentary consultation on how to best prepare for the Hunter test today.


Origins Tutoring also offers the "Hunter College High School Preparation E-Guide"  The Preparation Guide is the only test prep book on the market devoted to helping students prepare for the HCHS admissions exam. It contains three practice tests and much more. You can learn about the Guide here.