(Part 1 in a two-part series.)
It’s time! You’ve practiced. You’ve learned which test strategies work best for you. You’re ready to show what you can do.
Tomorrow is Test Day.
Maybe you’re taking the SAT, the ACT, or an SAT subject test. However, there’s one thing you have to do before acing any test: get through the night before. A+ has put together this short quiz to help you plan a restful and productive evening before the big day.
- Which of the following would be your best choice for dinner?
- Now might be a good time to see if I’m still lactose intolerant.
- Let’s use up those old hot dogs—they’ve only been in the fridge for two weeks!
- I’ll have dinner at my regular time, choosing foods I like that I know I tolerate well.
- Which activity will leave you in the best frame of mind the next morning?
- Attending a big party and dancing into the early hours of the morning.
- Starting a new workout routine that exercises muscles I’ve never used before.
- Watching a movie with one or two friends and going to sleep at my usual time.
- How much sleep should you get?
- I plan to study until dawn. I can sleep after the test.
- I’ll go to bed on time. If I can’t fall asleep, I’ll toss and turn and stare at the ceiling.
- I’ll go to bed on time. If I don’t fall asleep, I’ll get up and do something relaxing until I feel sleepy.
- What about breakfast? (Okay, that’s not at night. It’s still before the test.)
- I never eat breakfast.
- Black coffee and orange juice.
- I’ll eat something light that contains protein. I’ll take a snack with me.
The right choice for all of the above is—surprise, surprise—always c!
- I’ll have dinner at my regular time, choosing foods I like that I know I tolerate well. Nerves do funny things to your state of mind. One response can be the impulse to try something new, if only for distraction purposes. This is not the time to experiment with ghost peppers or teach yourself to make crab legs flambé. If tuna casserole has always worked for you, then tuna casserole it is.
- Watching a movie with one or two friends and going to sleep at my usual time. Plan an activity that is fun, relaxing, and not likely to result in emergency services being alerted. If what you’re considering generally causes you to wake up with a killer headache and ringing in your ears, pick a different activity.
- I’ll go to bed on time. If I don’t fall asleep, I’ll get up and do something relaxing until I feel sleepy. Nothing is less relaxing than staring at a dark ceiling and counting how many hours you could still get if you fell asleep right now. Get in your comfy jammies. Go to bed at a reasonable time. However, if sleep doesn’t happen, don’t beat yourself up. Read a book. Watch TV. Do a crossword puzzle.
- I’ll eat something light that contains protein. I’ll take a snack with me. Use your judgement here. Although taking a major test on an empty stomach is not recommended, forcing yourself to eat and then working through nausea is possibly worse. If nerves won’t let you eat breakfast, take a snack that you can eat during a break (when presumably you’re less jittery). Avoid breakfasts like the one mentioned in choice b; all that acid with no protein is a recipe for disaster.
Finally, remember that a little stage fright is a good thing. You wouldn’t want to fall asleep during the test because you’re so relaxed! It’s good to minimize stress, but don’t expect to eliminate it altogether. Use it instead.
In part two of this series, we’ll look at a technique called visualization.
At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you would like more information, our Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to answer questions and provide solutions. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.