How to prep the night before the SAT or ACT exam

Calm your nerves and enter the testing site with confidence

How to prep the night before the SAT or ACT exam

Taking the SAT or ACT exam is the culmination of months of test-specific preparation, and in truth, years of schooling. While knowing that can feel like a lot of pressure, there are steps you can take the night before the exam to calm your nerves and enter the testing site with confidence:

1. Pack your essentials: Going to bed knowing you’ve packed everything you need to succeed during the test will help you sleep soundly and make the morning less frenzied. Your packing list should include an official, currently valid photo identification, your admission ticket to the test, No. 2 pencils (be sure they have erasers), a snack and water bottle (staying fueled is essential), a sweater (testing sites are often chilly and being uncomfortable can throw you off your game), and of course, a calculator. The best exam day calculator is one that’s easy to use and has an intuitive icon menu, such as the fx-9750GIII graphing calculator. While you won’t need all of its 2,900 functions during your test, or its programming capabilities, this Casio calculator is a great companion for high school juniors and seniors as it can support high-level STEM learning in the classroom, as well as go into exam mode for use during the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and other major standardized exams, like AP and SAT subject tests. To familiarize yourself with the calculator and its interface, be sure to use the same calculator for test prep as well.

2. Eat right: Proper nutrition and cognition go hand-in-hand. The night before your exam, fuel yourself with brain foods containing a mix of antioxidants, protein and Omega-3s. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, beans, whole grains, tofu and lean meats are all great choices. Try to avoid food unfamiliar to you, as you don’t know how it will settle and it could cause a stomachache. You should also forgo overly sugary or processed treats, which can lead to an energy crash. Being thirsty during your test is not only distracting, dehydration can actually impair cognition and brain health. Be sure to drink plenty of water the night before your test to keep the mental juices flowing.

3. Sleep tight: It can be difficult to settle in for a night of sound sleep before an important event. Reduce the chances of tossing and turning by putting down your devices at least an hour before bed, as blue light can suppress melatonin secretion and impact sleep. Instead, read, journal or do another quiet, enjoyable activity. On that note, avoid a last-minute study session or practice exam. The night before the test is not the time to cram. It’s a time to relax so your mind is fresh when it counts. If you do have trouble falling asleep, don’t panic. Resting quietly with your eyes closed can be beneficial too, and may help you doze off eventually.

By checking a few pre-test tasks off your to-do list the night before, you can be fueled, rested and geared up for your college entrance exams.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) smolaw11 / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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