Getting ready to take the SAT or ACT? We know, it can be a stressful and scary time. Here are some tips (aside from studying, which we’re sure you already know) to help you get your best score!
When you’re taking a test as important as the ACT/SAT, it can be tempting to stay up late night after night to study. But that can actually hurt your test-taking chances by making you – and your brain – tired. Instead, make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, particularly the night before the test. In fact, we recommend taking the night before the test off completely. Don’t spend it trying to “cram”; trust us, you don’t need another night of study if you’ve been properly preparing in the months and weeks before the test (and if you haven’t, then one night won’t make a difference for all the studying you haven’t done).
The one thing to do the night before is packed your “test bag.” Things to include:
If your normal morning routine doesn’t include breakfast, this is the one morning you want to change your routine. Don’t overeat; just have a good, healthy breakfast to give your brain and body fuel for the day. Oatmeal and/or a couple of eggs are a good choice to fill you up and keep you from getting hungry.
Wear comfortable clothing. This is not the day to wear shoes or clothing which will make it difficult or uncomfortable for you to sit still and focus; you don’t want to be distracted or irritated by what you’re wearing (such as an itchy sweater or tights/pantyhose that bind), and you’ll also lose valuable test time if you’re fidgeting and adjusting your clothing constantly.
Don’t get hung up on questions for which you’re unsure of the answer. You don’t want to miss the chance at answering questions whose answers you do know because you got stuck on a question you didn’t know early on. Instead, go through the entire section once, answering all of the questions you’re sure of and leaving the ones you don’t know blank. Once you’ve gone through the questions once, you can use the remainder of the time to go back through and work on the ones you left unanswered – and since there’s no penalty for guessing, it doesn’t hurt you to take your best stab at it. That said, don’t just choose an answer at random; do your best to eliminate as many options as possible from a question so that you can narrow the choices for your guess.
One last piece of advice – don’t panic! If you get to the test site early, take a quick walk to use up any nervous energy. After that, take a deep breath, and trust in yourself. You can do this!