For millions of high school students across the country, “testing season” is fast approaching. Whether it is the SAT, ACT, or other standardized tests, students will spend tens of millions of hours collectively preparing. And with good reason—after all, standardized test scores play a significant role both in gaining admission to a college, and in determining the amount of financial aid that will be awarded. For that reason, it is important that students take preparation for these tests very seriously. Below are several tips that will help with this process:
- Work through practice tests in the months and weeks leading up to your test. There are plenty of valuable resources and classes available out there, but nothing prepares you for the test as well as actually practicing… so take advantage!
- Go over the rules of your exam in depth so that you can prepare your strategy—for instance, is there a “penalty” for choosing the wrong answer? If so, you’ll want to think twice before guessing at an answer, depending on how much you’ll be penalized.
- Make sure you get a good night sleep before the exam… at this point, “cramming” won’t help you nearly as much as sleep.
- Eat a healthy breakfast the morning of your test.
- Bring a sweater or jacket in case the testing room is uncomfortably cool.
- Arrive at the testing facility a few minutes early—and leave room for traffic and other delays.
During the Test
- Read the instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.
- Slow yourself down as you read each question to ensure that you don’t mis-read an important piece of information.
- Pace yourself—don’t spend too much time on any particular section. Make sure you finish the test!
- If you find yourself stuck on a particular question, don’t let it eat up all your time. Move on and come back to it at the end.
- Don’t panic, even if you encounter a string of difficult questions. Have confidence in yourself and in your preparations.
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