Preparing for Test Day
Whether you’re preparing for the SAT or ACT, test day jitters are a thing. There’s a lot of pressure that comes from the outcome of the test and on top of that, you have a lot of schoolwork to deal with. It’s enough to make you want to make test preparation a second priority. However, you must also know that your standardized test score is weighted almost on the same level as GPA. So while I don’t think you should push off studying for your test, I’ll try to make it better by laying out your preparation plan.
Now it goes without saying that you should prep for your test. You don’t have to take a class (although we have some of the best classes in Bangkok) but you should find something. Get a book (or more) from the bookstore. Find resources online. Take practice tests. Even reading articles like this on our website is better than nothing. I have known of students that will take a practice test once or twice (usually right before the test) or they won’t even look at it before. I don’t have to tell you that that’s not a good idea.
All you need is Practise
Overall, you should begin prepping for the test at least 3 months before the date you’ll take the test. Take a practice test first to get a feel for it and diagnose your weakness. From there, start practicing the individual sections. Learn the basics of the sections like grammar, math concepts, or even just definitions. Then practice different problems. From there, move on to practicing whole sections. After you get a feel for that, start doing portions of the test. Try to separate them using the breaks. For example, on the SAT, you get a break after Section 1 and Section 3. So one day, you might do Section 1. On a different day, do Section 2 and 3 back to back. This will help you with the stamina needed for the test. Most important of all, make sure you understand your mistakes. Why did you pick a certain answer instead of the correct one? What was your thinking? How can you fix it? Do you have to learn a concept or did you miss a key word that made a reading question wrong? Fix your thinking and then rinse and repeat.
As you get closer to the test date, make sure you continue to do longer practices. And when you are a couple weeks away from test day, make sure you do full tests at least once a week. Building up your stamina alone will improve your score significantly. And on the day before the test, still do a bit of practice. Maybe you should work on your weakest section or perhaps perfect your ability on the strongest section. Some people will tell you to take it easy the day before the test but I think doing a bit of practice is nice. Just don’t psych yourself out.
Proper rest is the Best Vitamins
On test day, make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. You should actually start sleeping early at least two nights before the test to make sure you get used to waking up early. You should also not do anything differently on test day. If you don’t normally drink coffee in the morning, don’t drink coffee. If you don’t normally have a big breakfast, don’t do that too. Try to keep it as normal as possible. I also usually tell my students to do a couple practice questions before the test. It shouldn’t be anything difficult. Just a couple of questions to get your brain juice flowing in the morning. Finally, make sure you bring snacks and a jacket or sweater to the test center. The snack part should be self-explanatory while the jacket or sweater is necessary if the A/C is too high at the test center. The last thing you want is to be distracted because you’re too cold.
That’s it! The tips may be generic but make sure you try to follow them as they actually work. You’d be surprised how many people disregard these common sense tips and try to cram things at the last moment or do things out of the ordinary on test day and mess up their psyche. Good luck on the test!