Hopefully, you’ve already been studying for your upcoming standardized tests for many weeks and months. But even hours of preparation can be undone on test day by forgetting a calculator or losing the testing center’s address. Mapping out the details beforehand (i.e. what to bring and what not to bring) will ensure you do your very best on test day. Here’s a handy checklist of the nitty-gritty you ought to take stock of the day before and/or the day of your standardized test.
The Day Before Test Day:
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Don’t scramble in the morning for sharpened pencils or wait until you’re out the door to discover your TI-89 is out of batteries. Save yourself some stress the day of and assemble all the essentials the night before. Bring two No. 2 pencils, your calculator of choice complete with fresh batteries, and a soft eraser. Leave the pens and mechanical pencils behind—they’re not allowed. If you’re taking a Language with Listening Test, remember to bring a CD player, too.
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SAT Admission Ticket and Photo ID
Check the College Board’s website for what constitutes appropriate photo ID and keep it handy along with your printed SAT Admission Ticket.
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Mapquest the Testing Center
Know where your testing center is and get directions if you need them—you may even choose to make a trial run beforehand so you know exactly how to navigate the road and how long it takes to get there. Allot yourself more than enough time to get to the testing center—traffic problems can arise anytime, anywhere.
Arrange rides or carpools
If you’re not driving yourself, make sure you know who is dropping you off and who will be picking you up—as well as what time they’ll be there. Plan ahead and avoid unnecessary confusion and stress.
Accessorize with a digital watch
If you don’t wear one regularly, you may want to wear one during the test to help pace yourself throughout each section. Just make sure your watch has no audible alarm and remember that separate timers are not allowed.
Pack water and snacks
Bring some healthy snacks (i.e. avoid refined sugar, which will make you tired in the long-run) to eat during break and a bottle of water to keep yourself energized and alert throughout the test.
Set your alarm and get a good night’s sleep
Don’t pull an all-nighter cramming for your test in between sips of Red Bull. The best thing you can do the night before the big test is give your body and mind the rest they need. Set a bedtime and stick to it. You’ll wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever the College Board throws your way.
Test Taking Day:
Eat a good breakfast
You don’t need us to tell you how important eating a healthy breakfast is to your academic performance. Stick to protein like eggs and yogurt and avoid sugary or carbohydrate laden foods like sweetened cereals or pancakes. Even if you don’t usually eat breakfast, give yourself every chance to succeed and make sure you do on test day.
Turn off your cell phone
Seriously—if your cell phone rings, or makes any noise at all during the test, you could be dismissed and your scores could be cancelled. Many choose to leave their cell phones at home, just to be safe, but if you decide to bring it, turn it off and use it only during designated times. This policy holds true for iPods, pagers, cameras, and other electronic devices. Check the College Board’s website for more details.
Get to the testing center no later than 7:45 a.m., unless your Admission Ticket states otherwise, and go only to the testing center listed on your Admission Ticket. Since admission at another testing center isn’t guaranteed, you may not have a seat and will incur extra fees.
During the Test
Sounds easy enough, right? It is. But only if you read through the instructions for each section before you begin answering.
Keep track of time and don’t spend too many of your precious, fleeting minutes on any one question.
Use breaks wisely
Fuel up with the snacks you brought and mentally prepare yourself for the rest of the test.
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