For most students, the SAT and ACT are sources of dread, stress, and endless questions. If I don’t get a certain score, will I be able to get into college? How do I tell the difference between rumors and facts about the SAT and ACT?
The good news: there are excellent options for the years after high school regardless of your test scores. (And remember – your test score does not define you as a person.) In the meantime – you can control your standardized test experience! The following tips will help you navigate these mysterious tests and ensure you have seamless testing days.
1. Before the Test: Practice, Practice, Practice
You wouldn’t expect to win a competition in a sport that you’ve never played. Similarly, it’s unlikely that anyone could ace a test that they’ve never seen before. Learning testing strategies, testing yourself with practice problems, and reviewing past tests are all great ways to practice for the SAT and ACT. Feeling especially ambitious? Time yourself doing a sample section of the test.
Need some help in your practice? Register for an SAT and/or ACT prep class held in a school near you. The Answer Class’s prep class is affordable, convenient, and covers everything you need to know about the SAT and ACT.
2. Before the Test: Sleep – More Than You Usually Do
Standardized tests are difficult enough when wide awake – they’re nearly impossible when half asleep. Studies show that teenagers need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to feel their best. Start a healthy sleep routine in the week leading up to the test so that falling asleep on Friday night will be easier.
3. On Test Day: Relax and Know That This Experience is Temporary
We won’t downplay it: these tests are important. But, they will not determine your future happiness or fulfillment. They are stepping-stone goals that will one day not occupy any space in your brain. Try to remember this when you sit down to take your test. Being tense, stressed, and worried will only make you less focused and unable to reach your full test-taking potential.
4. During the Test: Manage Your Time
Standardized tests have strict time limits, so always keep an eye on your watch or the clock.
Use your time wisely and try not to spend too much time on any one problem (or you risk not finishing a section). If you’re really stuck, take a guess and mark the question in your test booklet to return to it before time is called.
5. During the Test: Leave No Question Unanswered
Neither the SAT nor the ACT penalizes for incorrect answers, so you should never leave a question blank. Even if you run out of time, be sure to bubble in an answer for every question. Look over your answer sheet before time is called to be sure that every question has a colored bubble. If you’re lucky, one of your guesses could be a correct answer.
With these tips and a few deep breaths, you’re bound for success on test day!
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