The ACT and SAT are some of the most memorable rites of passage– if only for the stress that they invoke. For high schoolers, these standardized tests require weeks, sometimes months, of preparation in order to score well and maximize chances of admission to the colleges of choice. It does not always have to be a stressful time, though. If you properly plan leading up to the day of the test, and follow these ACT and SAT tips before, during, and after the test, then you should be able to escape this tense time, unscathed and with multiple college options!
Don’t wait to start studying
A little bit of studying early can make all the difference down the line. You should take the time to create a an ACT and SAT test prep schedule in order to ensure that your time will not be stretched too thin and your mind won’t get burnt out. When you create this study structure, you can then compartmentalize tasks and think about how much time is needed for work vs. play.
Get help if you need it
Studying for the ACT or SAT can be overwhelming and frustrating when you don’t know where to begin! Even bright students who lack familiarity with the SAT and ACT need help to master the test. ACT tutoring and SAT tutoring will give you specific tips and help focus you on the things you really need to know, ensuring that you won’t get overwhelmed or burnt out. Contact us if you need help with test preparation.
Scope out the testing center
A week or two before the test, try to go to the testing center. This is to ensure you know where it is and about how long it takes to get there so that you don’t have unnecessary stress the morning of the test.
Once again, you especially don’t want to cram the night before the ACT or SAT. Studies have shown that preparing for weeks for the ACT and SAT is incredibly taxing on your brain. If you further exhaust it the night before the big test, then it can tire you out and make retention harder when it matters most.
Proteins are food for the muscles and brain. It’s smart to have a hefty meal the night before your test, preferably with energy foods rich in protein.
Prepare your testing materials before going to bed
The morning that you wake up on the day of the big test is nerve-wracking, so you don’t want to add more strain. Gather your materials the night before so that you’re not rushing out the door, or worse, forgetting essential things.
Some things to make sure you have:
Get lots of sleep
This one might be fairly obvious, but you should be get plenty of rest. To ensure that your brain is in optimal power mode, we suggest at least eight hours of sleep to charge up.
Eat a good breakfast
Oftentimes, breakfast is overlooked because your stomach might be in knots. However, we suggest a good meal because your body is a machine that requires fuel to run. On a day like test day in which you’ll need maximum brain power, a healthy breakfast is needed to get you through that mental marathon!
This might sound like an odd ACT and SAT tip, but whatever the weather is like outside, you don’t know what the temperature will be like inside your testing center or how your body will react to it. If it’s summer and hot outside, they may very well kick up the air conditioning and you might feel a shiver that could distract you during the test. To be safe, carry layers of clothes with you and add or subtract as necessary.
Triple check that you have everything
Finally, before walking out the door, triple check that you have your printed ticket and a photo ID. Your testing center will not let you in without these things.
The ACT and SAT are already hard, and losing track of your place can make you even more anxious! Be mindful of your place on the scantron and if you need to, take a second every 10 questions or so to go back and double check that your bubbles are filled in properly. Correct any mistakes so that you’re not scrambling at the end.
Monitor your time on a wristwatch
You’re not allowed to have a cellphone and while many places have clocks on the wall, as well as a proctor auditing the time, nothing is ever a guarantee. Having a wristwatch is ideal so that you can monitor yourself without the distraction of constantly looking up. We may even suggest making sure the time on your watch matches the time on the wall, because the wall clock will likely be what the proctor is using to gauge time.
Eat and drink
During breaks in which you can run to the bathroom, we suggest having a drink and a snack to replenish your body and mind. Pick something that is high in energy and drink lots of water!
There you have it. You survived test day. Now all there is left to do is… relax!
And for the next time, just keep these tips in mind or let us help you! Our ACT tutors and SAT tutors can give you even more information, so that you feel fully prepared for test day. Go to our contact page to see how our ACT test prep and SAT test prep can help you get those scores up!