The Night Before the ACT/SAT

Posted by Sanjana Viswanathan

July 19, 2019 at 11:00 AM

SAT ACT The Night Before Test Prep

Review your toughest subject

Choose the section that you have struggled the most with throughout the test prep process and do a quick review. It could be anything from reviewing a math concept you have struggled with, glancing over grammar rules or looking over a reading passage. Whatever the quick review is, the purpose is not to teach you a brand-new concept, but rather for you to know that you have done everything you could to prepare for the test and to walk into your test the next day feeling confident.

Eat a good dinner

Don’t forget to eat a tasty and filling meal the night before for dinner! Maybe your favorite meal (because is there anything else that makes someone feel good before a big day?) But avoid eating anything that is too greasy to make sure you don’t end up with an upset stomach. The last thing you need is your stomach rumbling during the math section because of those chili cheese fries. For more suggestions on what kind of meal is more ideal, refer to Is your Brain Hungry by Gerrin Alexander. Try to eat at a reasonable time, so the dinner does not interfere with your sleep. Keeping your body in good condition is a vital part of being prepared for anything—including test day!

Pack your test materials

Checklist for the test day: - admission ticket to the test - a photo ID (check the test website for what forms of ID are acceptable—generally, a valid driver’s license or a current school ID will be fine) - at least two #2 pencils - test acceptable calculator (check the test website to know what types are acceptable) The night before the test day, be sure to pack all the test materials that you need for the test day. You may also want to pack a healthy snack and bottled drink for the break, to keep your energy for the second half of the test. When choosing a snack, avoid anything too sweet or too salty because it will make you thirsty during the test. A healthy suggestion would be granola bars of some kind to provide you with energy since they are high in protein. Packing all the materials you need for the test the night before would save you the panic of finding everything you need moments before the test!

Time to relax

After packing the necessary things, don’t forget to spend some time relaxing. It can be anything from watching a favorite movie, listening to music, unwinding with a video game, or even just spending time with someone. You should probably try not to do anything physically taxing like sports because you don’t want to tire yourself out. Make sure you’re spending your evening doing something you enjoy. The important thing is to feel happy and relaxed. You’ve worked hard preparing for the test, and your mind and body need time to “recharge” before the test. While a good night’s sleep can restore your energy, free time doing something not only restful, but that makes you happy, is important to get you into the right mindset the day before the test.

We recommend going through our 3.5 minute positive psychology exercise, which you can listen to here. This exercise will help you visualize the testing situation so that you can destress before you even get to the room.

Get a good night’s sleep

I am sure you have gotten this advice in all forms before. But what can you do? It is true. Scientific studies have shown how important a good night’s sleep is for improved brain functioning. Using your mind burns more calories than any form of exercise, so taking the test will have the same effect on your energy as spending the morning doing intense workouts. No wonder you need a good night’s sleep! Keep an alarm before going to sleep because the test would be early in the morning and you need to be at the testing center on time. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep, that’s the minimum recommended for adolescents, although nine or ten hours are fine as well. This might mean going to sleep earlier than you usually do, especially for a Friday night, but being well rested on test day is more than worth it!

The morning of…

The morning of the test, be sure to get up with enough time to eat some breakfast and get to the testing site with at least fifteen minutes to spare. A good night’s preparation, relaxation, and rest should have you feeling calm and confident for the test itself—you’ve got this!

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Posted by Sanjana Viswanathan

Sanjana scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT/SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Fun Fact: I slipped and fell in my college campus 3 times within a day. (I really lack motor skills)