SAT/ACT Test Tips

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SAT/ACT Test Tips





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Before The Test


  1. Review Specific Material

If you’re nervous about a specific subject, it may be helpful to skim over some review material to refresh your memory. One very thorough method of review is purchasing an SAT or ACT prep book, especially those that include self-grading practice tests. A more accessible option is exploring online prep and focusing on areas you feel need improvement.


  1. Don’t Stress!

There’s no need to panic about taking a major test, especially since you can take the SAT or ACT as many times as you’d like (time willing) until you reach a score you feel satisfied with. Try to relax the night before the test with a soothing activity like reading or listening to music and then go to bed as early as you’re comfortable with.


  1. Fuel Your Brain

Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced meal the night before and morning of the test to ensure your body and mind feel energized and alert. Resist the urge to skip breakfast! If you regularly drink a caffeinated beverage in the morning, go for it, but if you normally avoid caffeine, test day is not an ideal time to chug a triple shot mocha. Maybe stick to water or juice instead!


  1. Gather Materials

In order to avoid stressful situations on test day, gather your test day materials ahead of time and triple-check an official required materials list online. The required materials for the SAT and ACT usually consist of 5 things: your test admission ticket, ID, pencils, calculator, and extra batteries if needed. A water bottle is also helpful on test day but be sure to check with testing center rules; better safe than sorry!


Test Day


  1. Keep Your Cool

If you have a tendency to get nervous during major tests, try to channel your adrenaline into focus and determination. Take deep breaths, keep a positive mindset, and direct your attention away from what’s happening around you. Test day is daunting, but approach it with confidence and trust your instincts. Chances are, you are way more prepared than you know.


  1. Watch The Clock

Make sure to keep track of time as you work through each section of the test to ensure you are on pace to finish. Answer to the best of your ability, but also keep in mind that you have to put your pencil down the second the clock hits zero. If you complete a section before time is called, go back and check your answers before mentally checking out. If you know you can’t finish a section in time, well, just read tip #3.

  1. Never Ever Leave Blanks

If time is drawing dangerously close and you have even one single blank on your scantron, answer it! Pick your “letter of the day” and bubble in any blanks to allow yourself a shot at getting some points on questions you couldn’t answer. There is no penalty for getting a question wrong, so better to guess than leave empty bubbles!


  1. Use Common Sense

Stress can very easily make a simple question seem like an unsolvable puzzle, so take a deep breath and use common sense. Don’t tear yourself up with second guessing; your first instinct is often reliable! Process of elimination is key in getting through the test quickly and effectively and can allow you to answer questions you didn’t think you could. Be confident and logical!


“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

– Henry David Thoreau

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