Crazy Cramming Clues: A Last-Minute Guide to the ACTs/SATs

By the end of fourth quarter, most sluggish seniors are seasoned pros when it comes to standardized testing. From the funny joke that were pre-PSATs, to the times we were dragged to school early on Saturday mornings to take a test that influenced our scholastic future, the long road that is high school has included many standardized tests. It seems to be the responsibility of upperclassmen to bestow upon younger students the wisdom that comes after taking these tests so many times.

1) Catch a plentiful amount of ZzzZzZs

Though it’s a cliche, this tip is by far the most crucial. It was the day after a midnight marathon of 80s movies and a mere three hours of sleep that I received my lowest score on the ACTs. Not only is it crucial to hit at least eight hours of snoozing, but sleep quality is also very important. Rather than watching TV before bed, pick up a book and read until you fall asleep.

2) Food is foremost

This is true for all challenges in life. Food is number one on the list of important ways to prepare for battle. Good food satisfies your taste buds, fuels your brain, and chases away annoying stomach grumbles. A donut and hot chocolate is not the brain food needed on test day. Fiber/protein bars, yogurt, fruit, and nuts are foods that will keep your brain working and your stomach full.

3) Stay AWAY from the review books

Yes, this must sound extremely counterintuitive. You’d think “it’s cramming time!” However, it’s just too late for that. A wise teacher named Mr. Jones once told me that you either know the material or you don’t, so rapidly reading it right before the test won’t do much. This is valid. No matter what, you won’t know every single formula, every single grammar rule, nor every single vocabulary word. So, instead of getting stressed reading the review books, rest up!

4) Create a great ambience for the ride there

The ride to your test site is the last free time you have before being locked in the building for hours. It’s your time to pump yourself up and get excited for the test. A song like “Eye of the Tiger” or “Locked Out of Heaven” will you get your blood racing and make you feel like it’s go-time.

5) Take it with a grain of salt

Deep breaths. One test does NOT determine your entire future. Plenty of Staples students didn’t hit their dream scores but still got into their dream school and there are plenty whose 2400s didn’t get them into their top choices. This is merely one component of your portfolio as a college applicant, and no matter what, it’s not the end of the world.