6 Common-Sense Tips for Success on Standardized Tests

You’ve spent months preparing for this test. You’ve spent many-a-night indoors while your friends were out enjoying themselves, and you’re certain you have prepped your way into a high score.

Unfortunately, many test-takers make the mistake of not preparing their mind and body in the days leading up to the test. Make sure you’re in tip-top shape on test day by checking out these six tips for test taking success.

1. Get Up Early

If you’ll be getting up earlier than normal on the day of your test, be sure to reset your sleep schedule well in advance. For example, if you’ll have to get up at 8 a.m. on test day, start setting your alarm at that time at least a week in advance. This way, your body will have adjusted to the new schedule. Let’s face it—you don’t want to feel groggy on test day!

2. R-E-L-A-X

In the days before your exam, take some time out to enjoy yourself. Yes, I said it: RELAX! Go see a movie, spend time with friends, or spend a day at the beach. Spending some time enjoying yourself will put you in a better mindset for your exam. Whatever you do—don’t cram. New studies show that cramming pre-test may actually do more harm than good!

3. Preparation is Key

Find out everything you need to know about your testing center a few days prior to the test. Map the location, get detailed directions, and if you live close enough, do a test run. You’ll also want to research what forms of identification you’ll need on the day of the test as well as what is and isn’t allowed in the testing center. Plan on arriving at least 20 minutes early!

4. Get Packing!

Gather everything you’ll need for your exam the night before. A few staples we recommend bringing are extra pencils, a timer (your testing center may not have a clock!), water and some healthy snacks. Avoid sugary drinks that will cause you to crash mid-test and be sure to bring snacks that will give you sustenance, such as fruit, string cheese and protein bars. Oh, and don’t forget your photo ID!

5. Sleep

While it seems obvious, many students are filled with nerves the night before their test and don’t get as much sleep as they should. Aim for at least 8 hours of shut-eye. Having trouble sleeping? Whatever you do, avoid sleep aids, as these may leave you feeling “hungover” the next morning. Instead, try a natural remedy for insomnia, such as drinking a cup of chamomile tea or a warm glass of milk, both of which have calming properties.

6. Eat a Brainy Breakfast

Even if you’re not in the habit of eating breakfast every morning, it’s important to do so on test day in order to keep up your mental and physical stamina. Consider incorporating “brain foods” that are high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids like eggs, beans, and salmon (to name a few!).

Do you have a pre-test regimen that works wonders for you?