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Resources for ACT and SAT Preparation

Test Week Check List


During the week of the test


  • By now, you know what you know. Trying to “cram” is unlikely to help you learn new information, but could increase your test anxiety. If you want to study, review the summaries of information that you have already compiled during your test preparation. For example, you might want to make sure you know the important formulas for the math portion of the test.

  • Do not overschedule yourself this week with after-school activities.

  • Get a full night’s sleep every night this week if at all possible. Aim for at least 8 hours each night.

  • If you are not taking the test at your own school, make sure you know where you’re going. Don’t rely on an online mapping program the morning of the test. It might be good to drive the route one time before the test date.


Friday night


  • Do something relaxing and fun.

  • Lay out everything you need to bring with you:

    • Your admission ticket

    • Official photo ID

    • 3 or 4 sharpened No. 2 pencils with erasers

    • Charged calculator or calculator with new batteries

    • Watch

    • A drink and a small snack

  • Visualize success.  See yourself solving question after question.  Envision completing the last question, putting your pencil down, and closing the test booklet.  Let yourself feel the good feeling of a job well done.

  • Go to sleep at the same time you’ve been going to sleep all week. Otherwise, you’ll just toss and turn.  Don’t worry if you have trouble sleeping.  You’ll have plenty of adrenaline to keep your brain going during the test.


Morning of the test


  • Have a backup alarm – either another clock or a parent.

  • Eat a good breakfast.  Make sure to avoid heavy, fatty foods.

  • Do something easy that you enjoy (take a walk or listen to music).  You want to go into the test awake and upbeat.


At the test site


  • Arrive about fifteen minutes early to the test center to find your room and settle in.

  • Use the bathroom before you start the test.  You only have a few short breaks during the test; you don’t want to have to worry about a line at the restroom.

  • Find your seat and sit for a minute.  Continue to visualize yourself working successfully through the test, using all of the skills and strategies you’ve learned.

  • During breaks, stand up and walk around.  It helps you to stay focused.

  • Pace yourself and keep your eye on the clock.

  • If you start losing focus, try this concentration exercise: Every five questions, put down your pencil, stare at the ceiling, blink a few times, take several deep, slow breaths and then continue with the next five questions.

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