Set Yourself Up for Success: What to Do The Morning of the SAT and ACT
No matter how much test preparation and studying you have done, it’s normal to feel a little nervous on the morning of an important exam like the SAT or ACT. While a full-proof morning routine might not eliminate this anxiety, it will certainly help boost your confidence on test day.
In order to feel energized for an exam that spans multiple hours, it is important to get your rest and plan your morning routine in advance. Here are some of our top tips from our team of expert tutors to optimize your morning and walk into the exam room feeling ready to give it your all.
Get Plenty of Rest!
Students should always strive to get seven or eight hours of sleep, but it is a non-negotiable the night before a big exam. Depending on when the exam starts and how long your commute is, it may be necessary to go to bed earlier than normal. In order to calculate when to fall asleep, consider working backwards from when the exam starts. Plan to sleep for at least eight hours and also factor in your commute time and at least one hour to get ready in the morning to determine when you need to wake up.
Pencil in Extra Travel Time
Being late can be stressful on any day, but there is nothing worse than worrying you won’t make it on time for an important exam. To avoid these scheduling stressors, add at least 15-30 minutes to your commute time to account for any irregular traffic or transportation delays. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the route to the exam center if it’s not a place you’ve been to before. If you are worried about getting lost, consider traveling to the destination before test day to ensure you know how to get there.
Pack the Night Before
Pack your testing bag in advance to avoid scrambling for everything in the last minute. The night before the SAT/ACT, lay out all of your pencils, registration materials, and a calculator if you are choosing to use one. Consider bringing some snacks and a bottle of warmer to stay hydrated and fuel during breaks. In addition to packing your bag, lay out your clothes in advance to avoid having to pick out your outfit during the morning of the exam.
Choose Comfortable Clothes
Test day isn’t the time to wear your trendiest outfit or break in a new pair of heels. It’s important to choose comfortable clothes and avoid anything that will distract you while you are working. For this reason, it is best to stick to items you have already worn before and leave any high maintenance pieces at home.
Choose Breakfast Strategically
Don’t let hunger pangs distract you from sticking to your top test taking strategies. Instead, be sure to eat a balanced breakfast that includes a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The morning before an exam isn’t the time to experiment with new foods or cuisines. Instead, stick to a breakfast spread that is familiar to you and filled with foods that will energize you for the exam.
Take a Moment for Yourself
In addition to giving yourself time to get ready, eat breakfast, and travel to the exam center, pencil in a few minutes to reflect and relax before the exam. Take a moment to look back on all of the hard work you have done leading up to this moment, your goals for this test, and what you wish to take away from this experience. This last minute check-in can be a great way to boost your confidence.
Taking the SAT or ACT can seem overwhelming, but it’s manageable for students who start studying early and create a testing plan. If you are looking for guidance on preparing for the SAT or ACT, our team of expert tutors can help you feel confident on exam day.
You can also download our free Academics and Test Prep Checklist to help you get on track with your testing and prep schedule!