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The Best of the Week of the Test Tips

Brenda A.

With the first ACT of the Fall 2016 semester almost upon us, we’re going to revisit some of our best tips for making the most out of the week leading up to the ACT or SAT. These tips will help you to maximize your final few days of studying and ensure that you do the best that you possibly can on either exam.


What to do…


The week of the test

Identify specific areas where you have room for improvement. Focus on these areas while occasionally reviewing the parts that you have mastered to keep those skills fresh. Take a full practice exam a couple of days before the real test, and then take it easy until the day before the exam.


Make sure you have each of the following:

  • Admission Ticket and Photo ID
  • Several no. 2 Pencils
  • Approved Calculator
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Extra Calculator Batteries
  • Drink and Snack
  • Watch or Test Timer
  • Sweater or Light Jacket


The day before the test

Briefly review everything one final time, put together the items on the list above, and set the ACT or SAT aside for the rest of the day. Make sure you review early enough in the day that you have time to unwind and decompress before you go to bed.


Spend the last few hours of the day doing something that has nothing to do with the ACT or SAT. Read a book, go for a jog, work on a hobby, or visit a friend. Avoid looking at your phone, tablet, computer, or television for at least an hour before bedtime. You’ll probably be somewhat anxious about the test, and exposure to backlit screens will only make it harder for you to fall asleep.


The morning of the test

Wake up early enough that you have time to eat a good breakfast and get to the test site without having to rush. Go easy on the caffeine. One to two cups of coffee or an energy drink is fine but no more than that. You don’t want to experience a caffeine crash or have the sudden urge to use the restroom in the middle of the test. Get to the testing room a little early so that you have time to settle in and let your nerves calm down before the test begins.


Immediately before the test

Take a moment to give yourself some positive reinforcement. Tell yourself that you’ve done everything you can to prepare and that you will do your best.


What NOT to do


Do NOT cram

Cramming for the ACT or SAT doesn’t work. If you haven’t been studying consistently in the weeks and months leading up to the ACT or SAT, trying to make up for your lack of preparation the week of the test itself won’t help. All you’ll succeed in doing is burning yourself out on the exam that you are about to take. Treat this test as a learning experience, and resolve to develop a study plan so that you’ll be prepared when you take the test again.


Do NOT take a practice test the night before

Just like cramming, this won’t actually boost your score. All it will do is leave you exhausted for the actual ACT/SAT the following morning.


Do NOT bring the following on test day:

  • Mechanical Pencils, Highlighters, and Pens
  • Scratch Paper
  • ACT/SAT Books or School Textbooks
  • Cell Phones and Tablets (If you must bring your cell phone, make absolutely sure it is turned off.)



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