Eight SAT/ACT Test Day Tips (Part 2/2)

In Part 1 of this blog series, we looked at 4 tips for the day of your SAT/ACT test: preparing your backpack the night before, having a healthy breakfast, getting a good night of sleep and knowing where the test center is. In this conclusion of the series, we will look at an addition 4 tips.

5. Use the bathroom before the test and don’t OD on fluids

This is a self-explanatory point. And this does happen -- once a kid told us that he scored low on the ACT because he really needed to go and was unable to concentrate. You genuinely don’t want to be explaining to your parents that you dropped a 100 points on the SAT because you had one too many glasses of water.

6. Make sure your watch doesn’t beep and your phone is off

This is plain common courtesy. Some proctors will not be too thrilled if either device makes noise. You may even want to consider a special ACT/SAT watch that doesn’t beep and knows how long different sections are.

7. Don’t bet the farm on one test

Bad things happen. We’ve seen them all:

  • Getting lost and not reaching the center on time

  • Going to the wrong center

  • Forgetting your printed ticket or ID

  • Forgetting your calculator

  • Taking a calculator that has not been charged

  • Test center being too warm/cold

  • Test center lighting being too dim

  • Test center being dumpy or depressing (you’ll be surprised, this can actually affect your score)

  • Proctor watching YouTube videos without headsets and ruining your concentration

  • A marching band playing outside your room

  • Construction workers not terribly sympathetic to your cause

  • Sitting next to a coughing/sneezing kid

  • Kid next to you throwing up

  • Your test getting lost (sad, but this does happen)

Net-net, expect the unexpected and have time for additional tests if you need them. In other words, don’t take your one and only SAT/ACT in November of your senior year.

8. Arrive early

This is just common sense. Try to arrive at least 15 minutes early if you are familiar with the center and 30 minutes if you are not familiar. Despite advances in technology, SAT/ACT is still old-school. There will be paper lists that you have to pore over to find your room. Then you have to figure out where your room is. There may not always be a map, so this might involve some light mental jiu-jitsu early in the morning to find your room. If you reach the center 5 minutes before the test, you’ll be scrambling, stressed out and off your game.

By following these simple 8 rules, you can ensure that your performance on the day of the test is at its peak. Also, if you are looking for help on college admissions, feel free to contact us. We have successfully been placing students in Ivy League Colleges, UCs, MIT, Caltech and other private/state colleges for almost two decades.


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