March Madness: Tips to Prepare for the SAT and ACT

By: Jason Robinovitz | Last Updated: March 13, 2021

March Madness isn’t confined to the basketball court! It spreads to homes all around America, because March means it’s time to start taking the SAT and ACT! So, here are a few tips to build your testing muscles.

1. Start NOW: Get more sleep.

Start getting more sleep tonight and every night, but especially the night before the test. Studies show that teens need 7 hours of sleep for optimal performance.

Get sleep before test day

2. Start a few days before the test: Make your plan for getting to the test center.

True story: When my son was a junior, he showed up at the test center without his driver’s license. Luckily, a friend’s father convinced the proctor to let Jamie sit for the test while the dad drove back to our house to retrieve the ID. Another test day mishap occurred when one of my top students reported to the wrong test center. When she gave her name, they told her she was not on the list. When she looked at her admissions coupon, it clearly showed the name and address of the high school where she actually registered—not the one where she was standing! She made it back there on time to test, but because of the mixup, she didn’t get her best scores.

Confirm in advance where you’re taking the test and how you’re going to get there so you don’t have added stress before the test. For most of you, the test center will be your own high school. But if you’re taking the test at another high school, find the test center and check out the parking situation ahead of time.

Once you know where you’re going, make your plan and determine what time you need to leave your house to arrive at the test center on Saturday morning with plenty of time to spare.

Teen being dropped off at test center

To-do on Friday, the day before the test: make sure you have plenty of gas in the car so you won’t need to stop to fill-up on the way to the test. To minimize stress on test day, lay out your clothes, ID, admission ticket, at least two #2 pencils, your calculator (with new batteries), some energizing snacks (my favorite is a banana!), and a bottle of water before you go to bed. You can even put them in the car! That way you’ll be organized and have everything you need ready for a smooth test day departure. Finally, be sure to set an alarm or two before you go to bed. “Alexa, wake me up at…”.

Saturday, Test Day: You’re organized and ready to go!
Shower, eat a good breakfast, grab your ID, admission ticket, pencils, calculator, snacks, and water − and you’re on your way!

3. Check for test center closings.

Before you go to bed on Friday night (and again on Saturday morning), check that your test site has not been closed due to Covid or poor weather conditions.

Good Luck!

Barbara Leventhal Educational Consultant


Topics: Test-Prep


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