Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Test Taking Tips for ACT and Other Standardized Tests

The following are a list of strategies on the final preparations for a standardized exam (such as the ACT and the SAT.)

DAY (24 HOURS) BEFORE THE TEST • Do NOT study or practice for the test the day before the test • No partying or similar activities the day before the test • Plan to sleep enough hours the night before the test. (For example if the test is on Saturday, don’t take a long nap in the afternoon on Friday if you know that will keep you from sleeping on Friday night. (“Know thyself.”) • Make it a calm relaxing day. Examples of good things to do the day before the test: - Prayer - Meditation - Visualize yourself taking the test and doing well in a relaxed state - Read inspirational or motivational materials - Watch inspirational or motivational movies or TV programs • Prepare everything you need to bring to the test (pens, pencils, watch,…) by the day before the test (and place them in a location you can easily see.) • Know exactly the location of the test and arrange how you will get there. THE MORE PREPARED YOU ARE, THE LESS ANXIETY YOU WILL HAVE. DAY OF THE TEST • Get to the testing site 30 minutes early or earlier. • Bring all you need to bring (the pens, pencils, watch, or other things you’ve already prepared the day before.) • Relax. You’ll be fine. (Whatever happens, it won’t be the end of the world.)

The first advice suggesting for you to not practice the day before the test may seem strange to you. That suggestion applies only for standardized tests (and not for class exams.) It is actually commonly taught in test prep schools such as Kaplan and Princeton Review.

For some of you taking the CUNY ACT, you may have a class or lab practicing for the ACT the day before the test. In that case, just relax and don't do any more practicing after the lab. You should be all prepared by this point. If you are prepared (from your practices throughout the semester), there is nothing more you can do to improve your chances. Doing last minute practice at this point may actually decrease your chances of doing well, because it may increase your stress level and decrease area of activation in your brain. If you are not prepared by this point (such as in the cases where you didn't practice enough throughout the semester), there is nothing you can do in one day to improve your chances. Unlike class exams (such as a biology class exam), you can't cram for a standardized test like the ACT. Cramming will only increase your stress level, decrease your brain function, and decrease your chances.

Copyright: © 2007. This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for free on your web site, blog, or other publication if and only if you include this entire copyright notice including the following links and statement. Other free teachings from Amadeo Constanzo can be found at and

Shu Chan 陳樹中 Terence Chan LIU

Terence Chan LIU Long Island University

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