OK, students is it – ACT this weekend. I know you may be nervous, but don’t be: If you are a junior, this is early in the game and you can consider this test a practice test. Seniors, you’ve probably got some “keeper” scores for your composite and Saturday’s test gives you a chance to raise one or more of them. For everyone, it’s just win-win.
Juniors (and seniors who think you might take the test one more time): you should bring a notepad and as soon as the test is over, instead of rushing out of the hall, stop and jot down whatever you remember RIGHT AWAY. Once you leave the room or the building, it will be much harder to recall. Note any math topics that were new or hard, science questions that were surprising, reading passages that were difficult due to topic or style and whatever else you can think of.
* Did you guess on a lot of questions in the Math? What kinds of math questions gave you trouble?
* Did you run out of time on the Reading or Science – and if so, on which passage?
* Can you recall any vocabulary words that you were unsure of?
On the way home, continue to try to recollect what you missed and JOT THEM DOWN. This will be a real help in guiding your study for the next test, should you choose to retake it.
Your checklist to get ready for exam day:
– Review your techniques and the test format overall, but stop studying for this test by Friday afternoon or early evening, at the latest. No cramming!
– Collect all your test day essentials by late afternoon on Friday:
– a half dozen sharpened #2 pencils
– fat eraser to cover the answers in Reading section!
– calculator with fresh batteries and some backup new ones for your pocket just in case
– tasty, energizing and filling snack and beverage (Energy drink or other caffeine-containing drink ONLY if you usually drink it for school or study. Don’t try anything new on your body for test day.)
– ticket for the test, ID
– wristwatch for pacing!
– Get a good night’s sleep! <– This is the single most important thing you can do to raise your scores!
– Set a couple of alarm clocks so you can’t possibly oversleep and won’t have to worry about doing so.
– Make sure you confirm – by looking at your ticket – where you will be taking the test, know how to get there and allow enough time in order to get there a half hour EARLY. If you are hoping to get a seat standby, definitely be early so you can be first in line.
In the morning:
– Eat breakfast, then take a few minutes to do one easy problem in each section of the test from a textbook – even a problem you’ve already done is ok, just to warm up before you go.
– Dress in layers in case it is too warm/cool in the test center.
– Pack tic-tacs (take them out of the noisy plastic case, put directly into your pocket), chewing gum or other surreptitious snack that you can pop discretely when your attention flags.
At the test center:
– Try to get a seat that has a minimum of distractors around it (other students on all four sides, windows, fishtank, etc)
– Don’t let others distract you even during break time. They’ll all be talking about how some question was hard, or whatever. Ignore them! You will be in YOUR ZONE, focussing on eating your snack, and psyching yourself forward – not reliving the past!
Remind yourself: You did great work preparing for your test and you are going to be rewarded with great scores and soon enough you’ll get to choose your next adventure – your college! (And know that wherever you go to college, your dedication to preparing for this exam will serve you well.)
Good luck this weekend!