How to prep for test day

We are in the home stretch and we can’t start slowing down now. Here are a few tips to make it a little easier.


Photo by Ben Mullins

            May has begun! Which means that last home stretch of the school year, and testing. Whether it’s AP Exams, the SATs, or simply finals, everyone should feel prepared for success! Continuing to exercise the brain and keeping yourself healthy is a good start. Some tips include:

Eating a delicious nutritious breakfast

I know it’s said a lot, especially by parents. However according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI),

“Breakfast has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognitive, and school performance…concentration and alertness.”

Yet breakfast doesn’t necessarily mean leftover Chinese food or ice cream; you should aim for eating healthy foods to start of the morning. A few could be:

  • Green Tea: it sounds odd, but ThoughtCo. Informs that one of its key ingredients; Polyphenols, can protect the brain from negative thoughts. Therefore improving your confidence on the test results and calming those nerves.
  • Eggs: a popular breakfast side dish with so many benefits and vitamins! And in the test taking sense, improves memory thanks to the choline it obtains. So for all the short term memory students, eat some eggs before your test.
  • Dark Chocolate: a dessert with a purpose of improving your focus and concentration. Not just coffee gives off that caffeine boost!
  • Oatmeal: although corn flakes provide a substantial amount of fiber, oatmeal wins with its enriching amount of carbohydrates (our body’s main energy source), and its boost in brain power.
  • Fruit: oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries are the best choice for Vitamin C support before a test; they make the communication between your neurotransmitter and brain cells more efficient! So it’s suggested to add some strawberries on top of your whole grain cereal or oatmeal for that extra brain boost.

Study, Study, Study!

Instead of cramming all the test information in your brain the night before the test, take the time in the week(s) prior to review what you’re struggling with or simply need more practice on for no more than 2 hours (don’t overwork your brain!).

  • Focus on one subject at a time, it’s easier to retain information when you’re not jumping from one subject to the other.
  • Take the night before the test to get a good amount of rest and as a study break; like resting muscles before a game.
  • For english or math, make some flashcards to review terms or formulas you should remember for certain problems.

Get everything together

The morning of the test shouldn’t be the time to quickly grab the materials you need, leave your house then realize you forgot something important. Therefore, here’s how you should come to your test prepared according to college board:

  • Admission Ticket (SAT, ACT, and AP exams require it!)
  • Acceptable photo ID
  • Two No. 2 pencils
  • A blue or black pen
  • An approved calculator
  • A drink or snack for the break (recommended since you’ll be there about 4 hours)
  • DO NOT BRING electronic devices (keep phone in bag), highlighters, pens, colored pencils, books, or papers. Everything relating to paper will be provided!


Don’t stay up all night studying, as said previously. You should rest up that brain for at least 7 hours to earn the best test results possible. According to researchers at Ghent University and KU Leuven, their 2014 survey of 621 students claims that, “Students who sleep seven hours per night during the exam period score an average of 1.7 points higher (on a scale of 20) on their exams than peers who get only six hours of sleep”. This will not only give you a more energized feel in the morning, but also improves memory!

Show up early

If you’re taking the SAT, ACT or any AP exam, always show up 30 minutes early! Give yourself time to settle and check in with whoever is coordinating. If you show up even a minute late you are not allowed to join your peers in test taking and will have to pay for a new one!

Study with resources given

If your AP teacher has given you any sort of book, the 5 steps to a 5 book for AP Lang for example, website, or app to use, utilize them! The college board site is loaded with practice quizzes, tips, and even full practice tests. All you have to do is sign in. If you can’t remember your username and password, there’s probably something relating to that in your email. Plus, giving the site access to your PSAT scores allows it to create questions and quizzes based on the certain ones you struggled with.

With all considered above, and if you use these tips to your advantage, you will for sure rock the test! Have confidence in your abilities, study hard, and do your best. And lastly, have a goal! Shoot for the highest score possible and you’ll be successful. Best of luck!