Getting Ready for SAT or ACT Test Day

It Never Fails: The day before either the ACT or SAT exam is to be administered, our inboxes fill to the brim with inquiries from anxious test-takers. How many hours should I study the night before the exam? How early should I wake up? Should I take a practice test the night before? Should make a review sheet? Can we meet one last time? Please?

At Higher Learning, the answer to the last question is always, “Yes, of course.” Still, as we enter SAT and ACT season proper, we thought we’d take a moment to address the common questions and concerns that flood our Skype inboxes in the days leading up to the SAT or ACT.

The exam is in a couple of days… How much should I study?

The truth is, lots of students overwork themselves in the days leading up to the exam. Of course, if you got to cram…you got to cram. But, if you’ve been meeting with your Higher Learning tutor for a number of weeks, you’re probably mastered more of the SAT/ACT than you realize. If you’ve worked consistently with your Higher Learning tutor, you’ve solidified your foundational knowledge of each subject area, learned to identify the types of questions you can expect to see on the test, and learned all the tricks that can help you eliminate mistakes and maximize efficiency. The best way to manage your time and stress leading up to the exam is to do a little each day.

I have test anxiety, what do I do?

The key to success on the ACT or SAT is familiarizing your self not only with the subject matter, but also the style with which the subject matter will be presented and tested. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement for your aunt’s favorite workout video, do 15 minutes a day of review. When you look at an ACT English section, don’t simply answer the questions. Review the method, as well as all the tricks we’ve covered. Be sure to analyze the types of questions and note what kind of mistakes you typically make.

The same goes for the SAT Math section, or the ACT Science section. The goal is simple: When you take test you should know not only how to get the right answer, but how to do so efficiently and with plenty of headspace. The more familiar you are with the style of questions each of the tests offer- and the SAT and ACT differ tremendously in style- the calmer and more relaxed you can be. Remember, you don’t have to ace the test- the goal score you’ve set with your Higher Learning tutor is the score you’re shooting for. If we can accomplish our goal, you’ll be where you want to be freshman fall.

Should I wake up extra early? Should I get extra sleep?

The day of the exam should be like every other school day. Or, if you have trouble most mornings making it to school on time, make a point to spend the few days before the exam breaking that pattern. If you usually have a cup of coffee, do it. If not, don’t start now. If you usually have a big breakfast, do it. If not, don’t start now! Make the morning of the exam “just another school day.” Think positively. After all, it’s more like a half day than a full school day. We suggest reading a newspaper or magazine for a few minutes over breakfast, just to get the gears turning in your mind. The most important thing to do give yourself the opportunity to be focused, well rested, and relaxed.

Can we meet one last time? PLEASE?

Of course. We’re here to help. Let’s meet up on Skype and assuage all of your fears. If we’ve been meeting regularly, we’re sure you’re ready to go!

P.S. Do you know the definition of assuage? Well… look it up! 😉


Find out about our SAT Tutoring

Find out about our ACT Tutoring