Your kids have already been given the basics about what to bring on test day, but below are some tips for parents on the day their child is taking the ACT & SAT.
Running through the list of what they need to bring to the test
You should run through this list 3-4 days in advance and then one more time the night before. You want to make sure all items are present and accounted for including:
- Photo ID
- Admission ticket
- Sharpened #2 pencils (with good erasers)
- Sharpener (or lots of extra pencils)
- Approved calculator with fresh batteries
- Snacks (and drinks)
- Sweater in case the room is cold (dress in layers)
- Watch or device to keep time
- Tissues (optional)
- Advil (optional)
- Pepto Bismol (optional)
- Inhalers and other medications (optional)
Knowing where the test location is
This may seem silly, but if you need to take your child to a location that is outside your normal travel path, make sure you find it on the map ahead of time and plug it into your GPS the morning of the test. It’s not a time to say, “Yeah, I think I know where I’m going.” SAT/ACT tests are not one of those things where it’s cool to be casually late. It’s so not cool!
Making sure they’re prepared
Hopefully, your child has been working with Testive on test prep to get ready for the “big day.” Daily practice spread over 3-4 months with personal coaching support can make a huge difference in preparing your child for the test. Huge, meaning that we consistently see an improvement of 150 – 200 points in our students who commit to the process and put forth the effort to succeed.
Building their self-confidence
If your child goes into the test all freaked out because they don’t feel ready or they’re just not confident, then chances are they didn’t prepare well enough and their anxiety is getting the best of them. Give them a pep talk the night before and again on the car ride over and remind them that they studied hard, they’re ready, and they’ll do fine. And no matter what, you’ve got their back.
Making sure they get a good nights sleep
This may seem trivial, but it’s amazing what a well-rested mind and body can do versus one that is groggy and feeling the urge to nod off at every turn. And remember, teenagers need about 10 hours of sleep to act like humans, so make them go to bed early. Last-minute cramming or stressing over the test doesn’t do anybody any good. It might also be a great time to drop those parental restrictions on video games, television, or other activities to help them relax before bedtime.
Making them a good breakfast
Again, this goes along with making sure the body and mind are nourished to be able to think clearly and perform as needed. General rule of thumb, whatever your child normally puts in their body in the morning, they should consume on test day. Similarly, if they don’t chug a Red Bull every morning, test day isn’t the time to experiment. The one exception: if your child really isn’t a breakfast eater, today is a day to get some food in them. Even it’s a cheeseburger with fries. It will serve them better than an empty stomach.
Things to remind them about on the test itself:
Points, points, points!
This test is about accuracy, not completion. That means that it’s much better to answer fewer questions and get them all right than to answer an entire section with decreased accuracy. For example, if a Math section has 16 questions, we’d rather see your child not get to questions 14-16 if it means they have time to weed out any silly mistakes on 1-13.
Process of elimination
Since the test is about accuracy, students should do whatever they can to ensure a better guess on a question. If they can narrow down their choice to two or three, they’re in a pretty good place to guess (your chances are 50% or 33%, respectively). This strategy works particularly well on the Reading and Writing sections: even if they don’t fully know which answer is right, they can usually cross out two or three really, really bad answers that are obviously wrong.