You’re studying for the BIG TEST: brushing up on grammar rules and math formulas, taking practice tests. But you’ve heard horror stories of test-day breakdowns, and you fear it will happen to you once you sign in and enter that big classroom. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Put on your armor, and all will be well!
HELMET: The right mindset.
We are not born with the right test-day mindset. In fact, big-stakes tests naturally lead to a heavy dollop of performance anxiety for many students.
Don’t wait until test day to start tackling the nerves. Instead, face your test day anxiety ahead of time by practicing healthy stress reduction techniques. Attend our seminar on Overcoming Test Anxiety to learn how to tackle the demons on the mind and going into battle armed with a calm, clear, and positive mindset.
In a recent Tests and the Rest Online Summit for test prep tutors, Bara Sapir of City Test Prep offered a phrase which captures the ultimate test day mindset: “Everything I’ve learned and done has brought me to this moment in time, and I will SHOW UP.”
BREASTPLATE: Anticipate body problems.
In those three hours of the test, a minor physical symptom can become a major sword in the chest; it can kill your hopes for your best score. You’ll want to come prepared to guard against any and all possible physical distractions:
— Dress in layers. A slight variation in temperature has been shown to affect scores.
— Bring tissues for sniffles and your own personal first aid kit.
— unwrapped gum or mints can boost focus quickly.
— a robust breakfast and some high-power snacks are essential to keep you energized.
SWORD: If necessary, go on the offensive.
Become an expert on testing protocol. KNOW MORE THAN THE PROCTOR about how the test must run. If inaccurate timing, proctor chatter, or a faulty desk or chair threaten to derail your efforts, speak up immediately. Go on the offensive! Be your own advocate. At that moment in time, no one else can fight for you, and afterwards is too late to do anything but have your test cancelled.
SABOTON: Practice endurance.
An armored shoe, or saboton, was the first article of clothing put on for battle. A four-hour test is like a marathon run. Don’t let test day be your first attempt! Instead, take proctored practice tests whenever you can. Chariot Learning offers full-length, official ACT and SAT practice tests, free for anyone. Get help with a thorough test review in a group or one-on-one.
Other ways you can prepare to go the distance:
- WEAR A WATCH with no alarms to gain a sense of control over your three hour marathon.
- Get a good sleep TWO NIGHTS BEFORE the test. Even with pre-test jitters one night before, you can still bank enough sleep to find your stride.
- CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE the night before, and even after, your test. Plan a day of rest and a special reward for crossing the finish line.
Chariot Learning offers you our best wishes for test day! Let us know how these suggestions helped you.