We’ve all had really bad days, and we all hope these really bad days are not going to overlap with really important days: graduation, prom, driver’s license tests, and, of course, ACT test day.
Things are likely never going to be exactly as you envisioned on test day, but you can help minimize the chances of having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ACT test day by embracing these two important ACT test day tips: 1. be prepared and 2. be flexible.
In this video, I talk about how to be both prepared and flexible, specifically by doing the following:
Make a Checklist
Make a checklist the day before of everything you need to bring to ACT test day: entrance ticket, ID, calculator, pencils, snacks, sweatshirt, watch, extra batteries. Don’t waste precious sleep time packing in the morning or run late for the test because you are engaged in a panicked hunt for your calculator.
Go Early But Not TOO Early
It’s so important that you leave plenty of time to get to the test center, but if you get there TOO early, then you probably lost out on the opportunity for some valuable sleep, breakfast or exercise. if you do find yourself getting to the test center earlier than planned, do some breathing exercises in your car, listen to some feel good music, go for a walk, but DON’t get sucked into that pile of nervous test-takers slowly growing at the door. It’s important not to let these vampirish nervous nellies zap your energy.
Have a Game Plan
The week before the test, make a short list of the most important things for you to focus on and the things you need to remember not to do. This is what I call a game plan or a “cheat sheet.” Review this sheet the morning of the test before you go into the center and then mentally review your plan for each subject test before you start. This helps you keep your focus and confidence up!
Be Flexible and Advocate for Yourself
Even if you were able to control everything about your testing situation at home, you can’t at the test center. This is why I think it’s important, when possible, to go to take practice tests at your school, a test prep center, or a library, so you can get used to the kid blowing his nose next to you or a proctor that forgets to give you a 10-minute reminder.
But if something goes wrong at the test center, don’t think you just have to suck it up and deal with it. This is your test, and you should advocate for yourself. Raise your hand if it is during a section or talk to the proctor between sections to see if he or she can do anything about a distraction (an open window, a clock that is hard to read, etc.). They may not be able to accommodate you (in which case, remember that you are also embracing being flexible) but hopefully they can.
Check out the video! I hope you enjoy it and that it helps you have a super awesome, very good, best ever ACT test day.
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About Kristin Fracchia
Dr. Kristin Fracchia makes sure Magoosh's sites are full of awesome, free resources that can be found by students prepping for standardized tests. With a PhD from UC Irvine and degrees in Education and English, she’s been working in education since 2004 and has helped students prepare for standardized tests, as well as college and graduate school admissions, since 2007. She enjoys the agony and bliss of trail running, backpacking, hot yoga, and esoteric knowledge.
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