Test Taking Tips

Test day can be a stressful one if you’re not prepared. Be sure you are equipped for a successful performance and smooth experience by taking the following considerations into account:

Prepare your body

Get some sleep – Be sure to go to bed at a reasonable time the night before test day. Limit exposure to screens and electronic devices starting a few hours before going to bed to improve your overall sleep quality.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast – Be sure to load up on all the major nutrients your brain and body will need. Opt for protein-rich food over sugars and carbohydrates. Don’t overdo the caffeine, either!

Dress in layers – Give yourself the option to counteract a testing room that is too cold or too hot by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Test day is definitely a function over fashion day.

Stay hydrated – Have bottled water on hand to keep yourself hydrated. Your brain and body need it to perform their best!

Have healthy snacks available – A steady intake of protein-rich foods (nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dairy, granola bars, trail mix, etc.) will help keep you going during long testing sessions.

Prepare your mind

Have some go-to relaxation techniques –We all feel stressed at some point, but the key is to be prepared with reliable ways to combat that stress. Try out different meditation and mindfulness strategies as a part of your test prep process. Figure out what works for you to quell anxieties and worry in the moment. Come test day, you’ll be glad you did.

Choose a carrot – You’ve worked really hard to prepare for your test. What’s next? Give yourself a fun activity or treat to look forward to once you leave the test center. It will help keep your spirits up and shake off any lingering stress.

Understand the best test taking strategies – Our test prep tutors can help give you an advantage before the big day.

Limit surprises

Practice the route – Test day should never be your first experience traveling to your testing location. If you’re scheduled to take the test at a location you’ve never been, perform a trial run the week before. If possible, make the drive at the same time as you’ll need to make the drive on test day. This will help you prepare for any traffic or detours while also giving you a chance to identify key landmarks along the way.

Park it – Once you’ve done a trial drive to your testing center, don’t just drive past. Take a few minutes to figure out where you’ll park on test day. If it appears that parking is limited or requires payment, be sure to plan a little extra time and bring money for the permit or meters. Remember, it doesn’t matter how early you arrive to the testing location if you can’t find a spot for your car!

Don’t wait to pack – You’ll be stressed enough on test day, why add more responsibilities? Pack up your supplies, ID, testing ticket, and snacks the night before, so you aren’t scrambling in the morning.

Have the right test-taking tools with you:

Do not walk into your testing location without:

A current and valid photo ID – A license or other government-issued ID will be the best bet.

Your printed testing admissions ticket – Unlike tickets for sporting events and concerts, showing the digital version won’t get you in the door.

A handful of sharpened, soft lead, No. 2 pencils – For most tests, pens and mechanical pencils won’t be allowed. Stick with the classic.

An eraser – The hi-polymer variety tend to work best on standardized test materials.

A manual pencil sharpener – Points break. Pencils get dull. You get the idea.

A watch – Timing and pacing are essential for successful standardized testing. That said, you never know if the room you take your test in will have a clock you can see or trust. Come prepared with your own. Be warned, “smart watches” are considered contraband in the testing center. Get a cheap digital watch or testing timer for test day and leave your fancy wristwatch at home.

A permitted graphing calculator – Bring the wrong one, and you’ll be doing calculations on your own.

Fresh batteries – You should be walking into the test with a fresh set of batteries in your calculator. However, always be prepared with a spare set just in case!

Your test day toolbox

Leave prohibited items at home or in the car

Cellphones – Do not bring your cellphone into the testing center if you can avoid it. Turn it off and leave it in the car. If that is not an option, double and triple-check that your phone (and any other electronic device you bring with you to the testing room) is turned off and completely out of sight. There is no faster way to get your test disqualified than being seen (or heard) with an unauthorized electronic device.

Non-pencil writing implements – Pens, highlighters, mechanical pencils, or any other writing implement you can think of that’s not a trusty No. 2 pencil needs to be left at home.

Written material and books – Last minute studying in the car or outside is one thing, but do not bring any books, flashcards, notes, dictionaries, or other printed material (other than your testing ticket, of course) into the testing center.

Other stuff – A good rule of thumb is that if the item isn’t explicitly listed as both necessary and approved to be in the testing room, it’s probably banned. Music players, smartwatches, cameras, fitness bands, tablets, wearables, laptops, pagers, Game Boys, transistor radios, walkie-talkies… leave them at home.