Test-Taking Tips

Here are some tips to make your test day a little less stressful for you. Most of these are common sense, but there may be some you hadn’t thought of before.

First and foremost, make sure you have the right location and date. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to assume you know the day and place when in fact you do not.

Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a good, nutritious breakfast—but not too much. And stay away from the sugar! Sure, it might give you some immediate energy, but it won’t last through the whole test.

Speaking of food, bring a non-sugary snack to eat during one of the breaks. Also bring a water bottle.

Get to the test location early and allow extra time for traffic. If you are late, you will not be allowed to test.

Bring your school- or state-issued ID, your admission ticket, two No. 2 pencils (not mechanical), a good eraser, a scientific or graphing calculator, and a watch (not a phone or other electronic device such as an iWatch) to pace yourself. If you bring an electronic device, you will not be able to use it during the test, so it’s important to bring an actual watch. Borrow one if need be from someone who actually wears a watch.

Please note: The tests are designed not to require a calculator, but you may take one if you wish. Only take a calculator with which you are familiar and comfortable. Do not buy a calculator just for the test. Some calculator models are prohibited. Be sure to check the official website to make certain that your calculator is acceptable before leaving for the test.

Leave all cell phones, mpg players, tablets, and other portable electronic devices at home. If you bring one, you will need to either turn it in or turn it off and not access it during the test. If you are discovered accessing an electronic device during the test, your test will be invalidated.

Use Sequoia Choice’s correct school code when registering for the test: 030609. DO NOT use the code of the school where you take the test, nor should you use the home-schooling code.

Do the easy questions first and then go back to do the harder ones. Each question counts the same, so make sure you do not miss out on easy points if you run out of time.

Test Preparation

For the PSAT: Check out the College Board’s online PSAT preparation info. If you look at the left side of the page and click on the links in the light-blue-shaded area, it will give you some helpful tips and study hints. They also have sections of a practice test for you.

For the PLAN: Go to the ACT’s official PLAN website.

For the SAT: Check out the College Board’s online SAT Preparation Center™.

For the ACT: Go to the online ACT Test Prep site.

Varsity Tutors also has free online test-preparation materials: Varsity Tutors Free Learning Tools.