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  • Paul Nicholsen

Top 5 SAT/ACT Test Day Tips!

Updated: Mar 10

Getting ready for a big test? Follow these five tips for your best chance of success on test day!


1. Be Prepared


This one is a little bit more of a night-before-test-day tip, but leave your bag right by the front door, completely packed. Things to bring include but are not limited to:

  • Calculator

  • Spare Batteries

  • Layers of clothing in case the room is hot/cold

  • Photo ID

  • Admissions Ticket

  • Snack / Water

Trust me, the last thing you want to do the morning of the test is run around looking for where you left your calculator!


And on that note, make sure you've set multiple alarm clocks to give yourself plenty of time to get to the test site early. You do not want to walk into the test stressed from rushing to make it to your exam on time.


2. Fuel the Tank



Have a good breakfast, but stick to your normal routine. Are you the type who usually skips breakfast? This probably isn't a good morning for a full French toast and pancake extravaganza. But make sure you've eaten something before you leave the house. In terms of coffee or other caffeinated drinks, again, stick to what you're used to but beware: You get bathroom breaks when you get bathroom breaks.


3. Warm-Up Your Brain


You wouldn't roll out of bed and run a marathon, would you? Take some time in the morning to do some sort of mental activity--hopefully something you find fun. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are great candidates, or maybe a few easy practice test questions. Anything that will get your brain to start working but not be too taxing.

4. Take a Deep Breath


So many students dive right into the test and don't give themselves even a second to mentally prepare themselves for the gauntlet they're about to endure. Yes, time is a factor here, but if you take a moment to take one or two slow, deep breaths, you'll greatly decrease your risk of making careless errors. You've worked hard and you deserve a chance to breathe. Take it.

5. Relax!



I know that's super easy for me to say sitting here, having taken the test decades ago (I'm so old) but seriously, relax. Is this test important? Sure. Is it going to be the deciding factor of your future? Absolutely not. These tests have been dying for years as colleges and universities realize that they're just not that useful. We're still stuck with them, but they're becoming less and less important: just one piece of an overall admissions package. Do your best and try not to worry too much about it.


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