Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

After months and months of learning new vocabulary words, memorizing math formulas, or practicing responses for different questions, you’re finally only a couple of days away from presenting your standardized test of choice. Be it the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, or any other exam, you’re probably at least a little nervous. But relax, you’ve got this! All those months spent studying, doing practice tests and reviewing different concepts were super stressful. However, now you trust yourself and everything you’ve worked hard for. You’ll be great! And remember, standardized tests are just that. They don’t represent who you are as a person, and there’s a lot more to life than these tests.

With that being said, you probably want to make the most out of this week. Remember, the week before your test should not be spent doing any hardcore studying. You should be reviewing everything you already know, not learning new concepts. This is a time to strengthen strategies and knowledge while making sure you’re in the best possible shape for your test. You should also remember to relax so you can be the best version of yourself come test day. Being a nervous wreck will not help you at all!

Here are a few guidelines to remember during this week. Every test and every person is different so accommodate these to your best interest. Remember also to think about things you can do during this week to save time during the test. For example, do you have your canned essay examples planned already for the SAT? Have you thought about responses for common questions asked during the Speaking section in the TOEFL?

7 Days Before…

  • Take a full practice test and start at the same time your real test will start. Simulate the test conditions as best as you can.
  • After taking a break, review your answers and correct your mistakes. Understand the explanations for the questions you got wrong. Think about the train of thought that would’ve led you to the correct answer.
  • Review math formulas, vocabulary words, concepts, or anything else you might need to remember.

6 Days Before…

  • Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Make sure you know where you’re going! Not just the location of the testing center, but if it’s possible to call ahead and ask, you should know what classroom to go to, where to park, if you should expect traffic in the morning, among other things. Trust me, it is super stressful to arrive the morning of your exam to a super huge school with multiple entrances and you have no idea where to go.
  • Review, review, review! Strategies, formulas, vocabulary words, grammar rules, anything you might need.
  • Practice for individual sections. Solve math problems, answer reading comprehension questions, etc.

5 Days Before…

  • Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Review, review, review!
  • Tackle problem areas. Review particular strategies that will help you solve those problems that you have trouble with.

4, 3, and 2 Days Before…

  • Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Review, review, review!
  • Practice without overdoing it.

The Day Before

  • Go to bed early. Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep. Don’t try to sleep too much; you will feel groggy the next morning.
  • Pack EVERYTHING you will need for your test. Admission ticket, ID, pencils, erasers, snacks, water, etc. Here’s a list on what to take to the SAT! Bring a snack!
  • Set multiple alarms for the next day, and give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Factor in the time it will take you to get the testing center plus extra time in case there’s traffic, or a car accident, or anything you weren’t expecting. It’s better to be early!
  • Consider picking out your outfit for the next day if you think that will help you save time the next morning.
  • DO NOT CRAM FOR THE TEST.
  • Relax!

The Day of the Test…

  • Have a good breakfast! Try to eat protein and carbohydrates. The last thing you want is a sugar high that will cause you to crash later, aim for long term energy sources! Don’t eat anything too greasy. Here are six examples of breakfasts to eat before the SAT.
  • If you usually drink coffee, that’s fine, but don’t do it for the first time today. Same with energy drinks or anything your body is not used to.
  • Read something to activate your critical thinking skills. Maybe a Critical Reading Passage, or a newspaper article, even a magazine. Or some of your favorite TP articles!
  • Rock the test!



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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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