How to Prepare for Test Day

December 1, 2023

It’s December, and that means students everywhere are preparing to take all sorts of tests – standardized tests, like the ISEE and SSAT, and big midterms and finals ahead of the winter holidays. The weeks leading up to a big test may be stressful, but there’s plenty you can do to take control and make sure you’re as prepared as you possibly can be.

IN THE WEEKS BEFORE THE TEST, YOU SHOULD...

Study! 

The number one way to ease any test anxiety is to be prepared. When you find out you have a big test coming up, make a plan, and organize your schedule to ensure you have enough time to adequately prepare (check out our blog post about making a plan here!). Typically, students should study a little bit each day so they don’t burn out, but in the 2-3 weeks before a major test, especially a standardized test, students may want to ramp up their studying by scheduling more study sessions, allotting more time, or taking a full-length practice test to ensure they’re on track. This is also a great time for students to reach out to teachers or tutors for extra support on any topics that they’re still struggling with – sometimes, just a meeting or two with an adult can help students understand very tricky topics.

ONE WEEK BEFORE THE TEST, YOU SHOULD...

Continue to study, be extra mindful about taking care of yourself, and make sure you’re logistically prepared! 

At this point, you should be almost ready for the test – you’ve spent weeks or months preparing, and now it’s time to go over any last-minute things you may still need to cover, and review topics you may have learned a while ago to ensure they’re still fresh in your mind. You should also make sure that you’re taking care of yourself! In order to bring your most rested, prepared self to the test, you need to make sure your body and mind are rested and nourished – go to bed early, eat healthy foods, and try to get enough exercise each day. Finally, this is a great time to prepare for any test-day logistics – find out where your test is, what time you need to arrive, how you’ll get there, and exactly what you’ll need to bring.

ONE DAY BEFORE THE TEST, YOU SHOULD...

Do nothing!

It may be tempting to try to cram a few last things in or do some emergency review, but you’ll actually benefit more from getting some rest. If you’ve followed your study plan and have put in the time you need, then the best thing you can do is try to relax, take your mind off the test, and go to bed early!

ON TEST DAY, YOU SHOULD...

Eat a good breakfast and arrive early for the test! 

The last thing you want is to find yourself hungry during the test, so make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast (or lunch!) ahead of your test. Plan to arrive early if the test is somewhere unfamiliar so you’re not too stressed if you get caught in traffic or your train gets delayed. Finally, if you’re nervous when you get to the test, take some slow, deep breaths and remember: you got this! You’re prepared, and you’re going to do your best, which is all you can do.

FINALLY, AFTER THE TEST...

Celebrate!! 

You’ve spent a lot of time preparing, and you should be proud of yourself for the effort you put in. Many students like to have a special treat waiting for them when they’re done with a test, especially one they’ve been working towards for a long time. Whatever that is for you, treat yourself – you deserve it!

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