What To Do Before, During, and After the SAT or ACT

While test taking can be nerve wracking, there are simple steps you can take to eliminate test day stress. Here are some tips that will help you feel prepared and confident before, during, and after the SAT or ACT.
Shannon McKinstrie's avatar by Shannon McKinstrie, PrepMe Student Advisor. Shannon graduated from Virginia Tech and spends her day helping PrepMe students with college planning advice and answering test prep questions. Her favorite food is coffee.

The big day is almost here! You’ve been prepping for months and it’s finally time to put all of your hard work into action. While test taking can be nerve wracking, there are simple steps you can take to eliminate test day stress. Here are some tips that will help you feel prepared and confident before, during, and after the SAT or ACT.

The Night Before the test

Pack up your test necessities so you don’t find yourself scrambling the morning of your test. Be sure you have everything ready to go, including two No. 2 pencils, your test center ticket, an approved calculator, your photo ID, and snacks and water for your break.

Plan your outfit and breakfast for the next day so you’re not in a rush. The last thing you want to do on the morning of your test is rummage through your closet to find a missing shoe. Plus, having your outfit ready means you’ll have more time to sit down and eat before your test. Do not, we repeat, do not skip breakfast! A good breakfast will help you focus and give you the energy you need.

Stop studying! Put the books down and shut off the computer. Trying to cram more information the night before is only going to make you frazzled. The best thing you can do for yourself the night before the test is relax. So whether you go for a walk, watch a movie or just talk to a friend, be sure you rest your brain!

Catch those ZZZ’s! We cannot stress this enough. Sleep replenishes your body and allows you to function effectively. Try to go to bed about an hour earlier than you usually would so you give yourself plenty of time to fall asleep. Being fully rested will make you more alert and fully ready to tackle the test.

During the Test

Don’t worry, be happy! If you are happy, excited and upbeat on the morning of the SAT or ACT, you will do far better than if you’re depressed and pessimistic. Having a positive attitude will help you perform better as you go through the exam.

Before the test begins, be sure to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and smile. Sit confidently and remind yourself that you’re going to do great!

Once pencils are up, do your best to ignore all the sounds of tapping feet and gum chewing. Be sure to focus and put all that you learned during your test prep into action.

After the Test

Pencils down! You’re done! Congrats! Now all you have to do is wait for the results. Don’t go over the questions again in your head and over-analyze your answers. Instead, go hang out with your friends, go out to dinner with your parents, or do whatever it is you would like to do to celebrate completing the SAT or ACT and knowing you did your best.

If you’re a junior or plan on taking the test again, now is the time to decide how you are going to prepare for the next one. Students should begin their test prep several months before the exam. This allows you take your time so you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed. Online courses like PrepMe adjust to your schedule and adapt to your strengths and weaknesses to help you get an awesome test score. No matter what date you are taking your test, PrepMe will create a customized schedule leading up to your test date. If you have questions about PrepMe or test prep in general, call us at 1-877-PREPME-4.

filed under Test Prep, Test Day Tips
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