Getting Ready for Test Day
The night before the test, make sure to gather each item the student will need for the test. You want to avoid scrambling around the morning of the test in search of a calculator! Here’s a list for reference:
* Indicates optional items
- Several #2 pencils (sharpened)
- An eraser, if the ones on your pencils aren’t any good*
- A calculator (not the one on your phone!). Any basic scientific or graphing calculator is fine. If you have any more questions about which calculators are acceptable, ACT has a list of all acceptable brands and models
- Extra batteries for the calculator. (Note: You’ll have to ask for permission to access these, as they cannot be on your desk during the test. You might just want to put in new ones beforehand to be safe.)*
- Acceptable Photo ID (Driver’s License or School ID should be fine)
- Admission ticket (printed out)
- A watch (no smart watch or any watch that allows you to record things)*
Know Where You’re Going
If you’re taking the test at your high school, this one should be a no-brainer. However, some students take the ACT at a school that is not their own. If this is the case, make sure you know where you're going, and how long it will take to get there. Google Maps is your friend, here. If the student is driving themselves, make sure they know where to park.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This one should be rather self-explanatory. You should aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep prior to the test. Considering how early the test is (usually around 8am), this involves going to sleep before midnight.
Don’t Try to Cram
It is virtually impossible to cram for the SAT or ACT, considering the amount of material they both assess. Students should take the evening off from studying and relax. If the student is anxious, they can spend a little time reviewing key concepts, rather than trying to teach themselves new ones.
At this point, the best thing a student can do is prepare themselves emotionally (control nerves) and physically (be rested and eat well). The time has passed for learning new concepts and strategies. That’s okay. If the student has time to re-test before applying to college, there is always another opportunity to improve.