Top 12 Test-Taking Tips

on September 15, 2016

These 12 test-taking tips will help you get a better score on the ACT, SAT and other college admissions tests.


1.Practice, practice, practice. Practice improves performance on standardized tests.

2. Don’t cram. College admissions tests cover too much material for you to be able to cram effectively. Studying at the last minute will increase your stress, which can affect your test scores.

3. Read the first section of a daily newspaper every day or the entire Sunday newspaper every week. This is a great way to increase your vocabulary and reading comprehension.

4. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test. You will feel refreshed, which will help you do better on the test.


5. Eat a good breakfast the morning of the test. Eating cereal with milk, a glass of orange juice or some fruit can keep you sharp. Scrambled eggs can also help.


6. Plan on arriving 30 minutes early. That way, you can factor in time in case you get lost on your way to the test center, and also allow yourself to relax before the test.


7. Bring two number 2 pencils with good erasers, a pencil sharpener, a photo ID, and your admission ticket with you on test day. Also make sure you have a digital watch, so you can track how much time is left. Turn off your cell phone. Wear comfortable clothing. Bring an approved calculator (ACT Calculator Policy, SAT Calculator Policy).


8. Visit the bathroom before the test and don’t drink any beverages – especially caffeine. Needing to visit the restroom during the test can be a big distraction.


9. Pace yourself. Don’t panic if you get stuck on a question. Read the directions carefully and completely. If you still can’t answer the question, skip it so you can spend more time on other questions. When you skip a question, double-check to make sure your answers remain aligned with the questions, so that the answers are in the correct spaces. If you have time at the end of the test, you can return to the questions you skipped.


10. On a multiple choice test, look at all the answers. Sometimes the answers can give hints concerning the way to solve the problem. If there are two or more answers that seem correct to you, look for an all-of-the-above choice.


11. It is ok to guess, especially if you can eliminate one or more wrong answers. Each wrong answer you eliminate increases the odds that you’ll pick the right answer.


12. If you have extra time, review your answers. Watch out for careless errors. Try calculating the answer two different ways, to confirm that your answer is correct. 

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