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Test-Taking Tips from a Test-Taker

There are a few simple ways to crack down on those exams.

Alison Graham

February 26, 2013

Test-Taking Tips from a Test-Taker
The SAT, or as I like to call it, the Mother of All Tests, looms over every high school student's academic career. It's loyal counterpart, the ACT or, for our purposes, The Father of All Tests, is just as intimidating. These two tests mark the passage into academic adulthood, and can make or break a student's ambitions. Now that we have all that scaring out of the way, let's talk about simple ways to crack down on those exams. Imagine yourself in one corner of the boxing arena, your chosen test on the other side, and I'm your over-pumped coach whispering sweet motivations into your ear, massaging your shoulders, mentally preparing you for the moment of truth.

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"You can break this guy!" I yell. "You have all the power! You're a human being, and it's just a packet of paper! Your intelligence and willpower will triumph!" How you ask? Well let me whisper to you some not-so-known tips that can help you take these exams down. Tip #1: Sleep well. All right, this one is pretty common, but we all know it is true, so I don't think I need to explain further.

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Tip #2: Eat breakfast. Everyone reading this is now thinking, These are the worst tips ever. I've heard them all before. But wait! Keep reading!
This tip is for people, like myself, who are cursed with the worst stomach in the world. If I don't eat in the morning, my stomach will make the loudest, most grotesque noises in all the worst possible moments. So I eat breakfast so that my stomach doesn't growl and I avoid eternal embarrassment.

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Plus, when I am embarrassed, I start sweating because I'm nervous and that does not help on these tests! So eat your Captain Crunch! Tip #3: Get up early and shower. This tip is not scientifically proven or anything because I am a mere high school student and thus do not conduct published experiments. But, I definitely suggest this. When you get up, shower, and get ready to leave your house, you are telling your body that it’s time to go somewhere important. If you roll out of bed and get in the car to go to your test, you are probably still half-asleep and won't be alert enough to do well. I would even go as far to suggest putting on some actual jeans and a nice-ish top (not THAT nice, no need for a dress or anything), and ladies, maybe even a tad bit of makeup. When I do this, I just feel better about myself and more confident, and that will definitely transfer to your test-taking. Tip #4: Lay out all of your stuff the night before. Put your calculator, pencils, erasers, admission ticket, and whatever else you need next to the door. You don't want to forget them, and you also don't want to spend your entire morning frantically looking for them. This gives you time to relax in the morning, drink a cup of tea, and pet your fluffy white cat, all relaxing activities. Tip #5: Bring a good luck charm. I just like good luck charms! Mine is a little rubber yellow man that is bendy and has a smile. But his arm broke off a couple of years ago so I had to tape it back on with white medical tape. Obviously, nothing fancy is required. It just makes me feel lucky. So go ahead and jump into that boxing ring with all the right tools! You can definitely knock out that test! Good luck!

What are your favorite test-taking tips?

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