Clothes, it is often said, make the man. But can the right clothes make the man test better? If we accept that our best scores come from managing every aspect of the testing experience we can, then even something as prosaic as wardrobe choice can impact performance. Dressing for success of test day involves more than remembering your lucky socks–though you can wear them too if that will help!
When laying out your wardrobe (along with all those other test day necessities) the night before a big test, your main concern should be COMFORT. Consideration of comfort should include a few important factors:
Freedom from distractions
You don’t proctor as many practice tests a year as we do without seeing lots and lots of hoodies and sweatpants. Why are sweats so popular? When sitting in place for hours on end, teens intuitively favor apparel that is non-binding and free flowing. Whether your taking an SAT, AP, or final exam, test day is not a fashion show. Leave the tux or ball gown at home and go with whatever you’d wear hanging out on your couch on a rainy day.
For many of us, shorts and a t-shirt define comfort, yet such light clothing may lead to great discomfort on test day. All too often, the testing room is too hot or too cool. You cannot control how warm or cold your testing environment, but you can control how warm or cold you are by wearing layers.
Power and pride
Many of us place other priorities above comfort when picking out our daily outfit. Dressing down for the ACT won’t help if you feel too self-conscious to focus on your exam. Fernando Lamas, famously channeled by Billy Crystal on SNL, asserted, “It is better to look good than to feel good.” Have it both ways by choosing clothes that enhance both comfort and confidence. Great ideas include team colors, a sweatshirt from your target college, and, yes, your lucky socks!