You’ve taken the practice exams, reviewed materials for each subject, and prepared for the format. The big day is almost here; you’ll be taking the ACT test tomorrow. For many students, the night before the ACT test is the most stressful part of the college application process.
But if you prepare yourself properly, the night before your ACT test can be a springboard to a high score. The tips below will help ensure you are prepared to perform your best when you wake up in the morning and head out to take the test..
Take your mind off the test
It may seem counterintuitive—with the test coming up so soon, shouldn’t you be spending every last second preparing? It’s fine to do a high-level review of some material, especially subjects you don’t feel confident in, but at this point you aren’t going to be learning a significant amount of new information. You know what you know. Instead of stressing about trying to learn more, relax yourself by doing something you enjoy. Read a book, watch a TV show, play a sport or musical instrument, etc. Scientific research actually shows that doing a task unrelated to what you are studying can help improve focus and retention.
Get a good night’s rest
You already know how much sleep you need to feel rested and energetic, whether it’s nine hours or seven hours. Don’t plan any activities late in the evening. Give yourself plenty of time to wind down—stop studying, preparing, or thinking about the test at least an hour before bedtime. Ideally you should stop using all electronic devices during this wind-down period to prepare your brain for sleep.
Plan a healthy breakfast
Don’t waste time trying to figure out what you’re going to eat after you wake up in the morning. You should know what you’re going to have for breakfast before you even get out of bed. Eat something light yet satisfying that will give you energy—fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are all great options.
Know the route to the testing location
It might seem like a simple concept, but you don’t want to miss your test because you were unfamiliar with the location. Use Google Maps or a similar service to plan your route to the testing location. If possible, drive there earlier in the week, but at the very least you should know which route to take to get to the test. This is especially true if you’re taking the ACT in a place you’ve never been, or an area of town you don’t know well.
Set multiple alarms and choose your outfit
You don’t want to miss your alarm and oversleep on one of the most important mornings of your life. Set a backup alarm in case you miss your regular one. Also, remember to pick your clothes the night before the test, for the same reasons you should plan your breakfast in advance. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to get out the door and go.
The night before you take the ACT, your focus shouldn’t be on learning new information. Instead, you should prepare yourself mentally and physically for the actual test taking process, so that you’re able to recall all the information you’ve been learning over the past weeks and months.
For more advice on other parts of the college application process, download our Ultimate College Decision Timeline, a year-by-year guide that will prepare you to apply to school.