How to Prepare for College Entrance Exams

Preparation for college entrance exams like the SAT or ACT is almost as critical as the body of knowledge you have gained while in school. If you are not ready for them, it is unlikely you will do your best. In this post, we’ve got some top tips to help you get ready for entrance exams so you can get the best possible score.

Stay Calm

One of the best ways to calm test anxiety is to be prepared ahead of time. Being confident in your abilities will go a long way towards quelling your fears. If you typically have the jitters no matter what, learn some deep breathing techniques to calm your mind and body. That way, when the time comes, you will know what to do to stay cool.

Know the Fundamentals

Even if you are pretty sure you have a firm grasp on the basics of math and grammar, these foundational subjects are critical to both the SAT and the ACT. In the SAT, you will be given some of the most common math formulas, while in the ACT, you need to know them from memory. It is a good idea to go over the basic rules for both grammar and math a few days before the test.

Practice Makes Perfect

Take as many practice tests as you can. There are plenty of places you can take them online. Websites like Khan Academy and the College Board offer practice tests for free. You will also find helpful test tips, videos, and quizzes on these sites. Taking advantage of these helpful resources will give you a distinct leg up when it’s time for the real thing.

Understand the Directions

If you understand the directions for taking the SAT or ACT, you won’t waste valuable energy getting flustered or disoriented. You can dive right in and start answering questions instead of acquainting yourself with guidelines. The directions are generally the same from year to year, so you should have no problem obtaining them online before testing.

Take Care of Yourself

Staying up late to cram for the exams with junk food on one side and energy drinks on the other will do you no favors in the long run. The tests take the better part of the day, and you are likely to run out of steam. Proper hydration, healthy food, and adequate sleep will ensure you perform your best. You will also want to bring water and a nutritious snack for breaks.

Be Comfortable

If you are sensitive to temperatures, remember to dress in layers in case the room is too hot or cold. Avoid tight-fitting or itchy clothing as they can be distracting. Instead, opt for the most comfortable clothes and footwear you have. Also, be sure to use the restroom before the beginning of the test as you won’t be allowed to leave once all of the students are seated.

Wear a Watch

Since you won’t be able to have your phone with you, a good old-fashioned watch will help you keep track of the time in case the clock in the classroom doesn’t work. As you are taking the test, it can help you to manage your time better so you don’t lag behind. If you don’t own a watch, borrow one for test day. Don’t bring a smartwatch, though, as these will be confiscated upon entry.

Make Notes in the Test Booklet

Although you won’t be able to take it home, the test booklet is an item you have paid for and is the only scratch paper that will be available during the test. If you need to write a reminder, draw diagrams, or solve math problems, mark up the booklet. You can also use it to keep track of the stop times for each subtest.