The day of the test is drawing near. After weeks of prep, the last 24 hours are crucial to your success. At this point, it is a battle of the mind, and one we will conquer! When I say test, let me be clear that I am talking about a standardized test, such as the ACT or an AP test. (Strategies would be different with a content test given in your normal classes.) Here is a fool proof routine for the moments leading up to the test that will have you entering the testing room with confidence.
Day before the test
This is the last time you want to look at testing content. By now, you've retained all the information you can, and you should only being doing a quick review. Take this time to look over common formulas and general information you know you will need, and do a couple short sections of a practice test. You should not be studying for more than an hour. Remember, the key is to not stress yourself out.
Night before the test
Now some of this will seem like common sense, but I still think it's worth repeating. You want to make sure you eat a good dinner and schedule a night of relaxation. You shouldn't be stressing out about anything else, including anything that may be planned for after the test. Make sure you have all materials ready to go the night before, including a charged calculator, pencils, printed test ticket, proper ID, and snacks. You don't want to rush around the morning of trying to find these items. Also, make sure you are 100% sure where the testing site is located and that you are going to the correct testing site. (I've had more that one student go to the wrong testing site because their parents signed them up for a different location- MAKE SURE TO CHECK). If you are bringing a snack, make sure it will give you energy without the crash. No candy and red bull, please.
Before your relaxing activity, go through and read your strategies over one more time. Also, decide on a phrase you will use when you start to think negative thoughts on the test. I have one student who uses the replacement phrase "you da boss" whenever he starts to think things like "I'm going to fail" and "I just totally bombed that section". Staying positive throughout the test is very important. Also, visualize yourself walking into the test room confidently. This will help to alleviate any lingering anxiety about test day. Remember, you control your thoughts!
Morning of the test
Wake up early enough to give yourself time to complete your routine without rushing. Eat a good breakfast, and don't use this time to try something new. For example, if you're not normally a coffee drinker, then DO NOT drink coffee. (I found this out the hard when studying for college finals.) Plan to arrive to your testing site 10 minutes early. This will give you a little wiggle time in case you forgot you needed to put gas in your car or you left your ID in your other wallet and need to go back and get it. Make sure to dress comfortably; you don't want to be cold in the testing room. THINK LAYERS.
Now here is the corny part, but IT WORKS. When exiting your car, or you can do this in the privacy of a bathroom stall, assume "superman" position (pictured below) for 10 seconds. This power pose gives you more confidence and will help sustain those positive thoughts. When you take your seat in the testing room, assume "CEO" position (also, pictured below). Maybe don't put your feet up on the desk, but you get the point. This body language will send a message to your brain that says "I've got this". Again, these techniques may seem silly, but this is a battle of self-confidence. You need to believe in yourself. You've been practicing for weeks, and you are prepared. Don't doubt your abilities!
You can do this! Good luck on your test!
Grace Peil, Founder