No matter what test you are taking – the SAT, ACT, AP Exam or even a test in one of your high school classes – studies show that you will score higher if you are relaxed. Students who are more prepared are more relaxed, but good preparation should also include plans for relaxing right before your test.
Sometimes you really can’t take an evening to relax before your American History class on Thursday, but college entrance exams always occur on Saturday mornings, so you should be able to put aside your homework and test prep studies and spend some time relaxing. Many people choose to watch a movie, but an action movie may not be a good idea because the adrenalin rush it gives may make it hard for you to sleep. If you aren’t able to sleep well, it’s a bad idea to try to compensate with an energy drink – especially if you are not accustomed to their effects.
Assuming you’ve had a good night’s sleep, now eat a healthy breakfast – but not such a big meal that you will be drowsy during the test (the same studies that show it’s important to be relaxed also show that being too relaxed can lower your test performance). Leave plenty of time to drive to the test so that traffic conditions don’t stress you out – or better yet, have a parent drive you to the test so you can relax on the way.
Spend some time taking deep breaths and meditating or praying just before the test. Tell yourself to do your best, and remind yourself that you will have future opportunities to re-take this test if necessary.