No matter how much or well you practice, your score comes down to how well you perform when it counts. While we rightly focus on what happens on test day, we’d be remiss if we ignored that all-important night before test day. You cannot guarantee a given score but you can guarantee that you arrive relaxed, confident, and prepared to earn that score by following these three steps:
- Pack everything you’ll need the night before.
Don’t wait until you wake up to get your essential gear together. If you’ll need to present ID and an admissions ticket, make sure you locate them before you turn in for the night. Also assemble a comfortable wardrobe with layers in case your testing environment is too warm or too cold. Pack performance snacks, water, and tissues. Also make sure that any calculator you bring is fully charged. Directions to an unfamiliar test center won’t hurt either.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
Don’t stay up all night cramming for your exam. If you don’t know something the night before a skills-based standardized test, you won’t know it on test day. Even content-based tests like Subject Tests and APs demand the kind of mental sharpness that only the fully-rested can summon. Instead, plan a fun, relaxing night at home and turn in early. The right–and wrong–amount of sleep makes a massive difference in performance.
- Prepare mentally for success
Golfers often visualize their progress through a course in their minds many more times than they ever walk the course. They envision each stroke on each hole, considering irons and woods and different lies. This mental prep supplements all the physical practice, ensuring that mind and body work as one when it counts. Try that before your next big test: imagine the flow of each section and how you’ll allocate time and implement strategy. Think about when you’ll do with too much or too little time, how you’ll handle adversity, and what you’ll do during breaks to maintain your edge. Mental prep really makes a difference.
Simply put, success on test day depends on what you do the night before the test. Make the most of the opportunity to arrive rested and ready to do your best!