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Final preparation for the official ACT or SAT

If an official ACT or SAT is right around the corner for you, you may feel a little nervous and uncertain about final preparations for test day. What should you do the night before? What supplies should you take to the test? How do you stay focused during the exam? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

REVIEW STRATEGIES: Take time in the days before the exam to review your problem-solving and pacing strategies in each subject, and work on practice problems. Studying in frequent, short bursts will help you with retention. Plan a study schedule and stick to it.

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ACT OR SAT: Charge your calculator and have your other supplies ready to go: number 2 pencils (no mechanical pencils allowed), your photo ID, your printed admission ticket, a mask if required, a snack and water, and maybe strong mints to keep your brain awake during test day.

Cramming in a lot of late night studying can make you feel anxious and exhausted. Instead, finish studying by late afternoon and do something relaxing in the evening so you get a good night’s sleep.

THE MORNING OF THE EXAM: Eat a hearty breakfast of carbs and protein for sustained energy.

Leave early enough to give yourself plenty of time to arrive a bit early so you don’t feel rushed when you arrive. This is especially important if you are taking the test at a site other than your school. If you have a long ride to your test site, take a short walk and/or stretch a little after your arrival.

DURING THE EXAM: Make sure you understand what a question is asking before you answer it, and work at the pace that allows you to be the most accurate. Remember to utilize the strategies you’ve been practicing.

If you start to lose focus, take a moment to quietly stretch, roll your shoulders, take a few breaths, etc.

During your break, do something to get your blood pumping a little… briskly walk down the hall, wash your hands in cold water, stretch, etc. Use your break time to energize yourself.

Remember that the longest part of your test is finished when you get to the break, and remind yourself that you have the energy and focus to finish strong.

EXTRA SECTION: Some of you will have an extra section at the end of your exam. This section DOES NOT count in your score. ACT and College Board/SAT use this section to gather data on potential new questions.

Best of luck on test day!

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