Tag Archives: test day

For all the emphasis in test prep on critical thinking, memorizing formulas and mastering grammar, sometimes making your target score on a standardized test comes down to the little things. The day I took the ACT, I had a terrible cough (this was way back in 2015, don’t worry) that made it pretty hard to focus, and I didn’t do nearly as well as I could have. There wasn’t much I could have done about cold season, but it just goes to show how outside factors can trip you up on test day, even when you’re otherwise prepared. This goes double for students labeled “twice-exceptional”—gifted kids with autism, ADHD, anxiety, or other problems that make them highly sensitive to their environment. If that’s you, or even if you just want to make sure you’re in top form for test day, here are some tips for keeping calm, focused and ready…

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As feared, the coming of fall this year has also brought a surge in COVID-19 infections. Fortunately from a testing perspective, test sites for the August SAT should remain open in most areas. Our Annotated Test Day Checklist already includes a facemask, and it looks like you’re going to need it. As per College Board, here’s what you should expect when you arrive to take the SAT: All students and staff must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status upon entering the test center and throughout the duration of testing. We recommend you bring a spare. You won’t be allowed into the testing center unless you are wearing one. You’ll be required by test centers to be seated at least 3 feet away from other students. Check your test center’s website for any additional health and safety measures so you’ll be prepared to follow them. If you don’t feel well…

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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…

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“Are the kids allowed to use sound blocking ear plugs during the SAT?” This question popped up recently in one of the many Facebook groups devoted to college admissions questions. The general understanding is that earplugs are absolutely forbidden on the tests, although my friend and colleague Pranoy Mohapatra shared the more pragmatic response: “Technically no… although it’s a rule many proctors are unaware of.” While I certainly agree that many proctors tend to be unaware of many important rules during these high stakes tests, the issue of earplugs is less familiar, so I did a little research. Interestingly, neither the current SAT Test Day Checklist nor ACT Test Day Checklist explicitly prohibits earplugs. [EDIT: Apparently, section 4b of the SAT Terms and Conditions expressly prohibits them. Looks like you have to read the fine print!] The initial question may raise another one, mainly, “Why should earplugs be prohibited in…

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Very few people love taking tests, just as only a special handful look forward to crisis and conflict. The day you are tested–in whatever way that concept is meaningful to you–is the day you must shake off doubt and distractions, marshal your energy and focus, and rise to the occasion. Luckily, in normal times, those days are few and far between. These are not normal times. For teens hoping to take the SAT or ACT, nearly every Saturday from now through early November (along with various Sunday and school day options) features a test. More generally, the start of another academic year under the same conditions that ravaged the last one presents at least the potential for daily trials and tribulations. How do you not just get by but bring your best when every day feels like test day? Consider the words of the great American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson:…

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“We all had to stand in line for about 20 minutes because we had to agree to statements regarding our health and COVID, which stunk. Then we were all divided into rooms with no more than 9 kids at a time. Nothing too crazy but it was definitely different!” “The testing center was very disorganized, and we had to wait for over an hour to even go to the testing room. They made us wear masks throughout the exam which was a little annoying.” These actual statements from actual students who took the actual SAT on August 29 should be taken as both precautionary warnings and signs of hope. What is the warning? The test makers and site supervisors are committed to enforcing health and safety measures for SAT and ACT administrations. Expect the following on test day: — All students and staff must wear masks or protective face coverings…

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