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Tips for the Week of the Test

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In this lesson we’re going to provide some recommendations for what you should and should not do during the week leading up to 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 the exam.


Don’t Cram

Cramming for the ACT or SAT doesn’t work. Both tests require you to practice regularly to improve your scores on them. 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.


Don’t Overstudy

Even if you have been studying regularly, the last thing you want to do is up the intensity of your ACT or SAT preparation efforts right before you take the test. ACT/SAT burnout is a very real possibility, and going overboard the week of the exam can negatively impact your score.


Instead, you should try to make the most out of your existing study schedule. Focus on the areas of the test that you are weakest in, 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.


The Day before the Test

Briefly review everything one final time, put together what you will need for the test (pencils, calculator, admission ticket, etc.), 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 late in the day 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.

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