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Ten Test-Taking Tips You’ll Be Thankful For

Ten Test-Taking Tips You’ll Be Thankful For

It’s that time of the year to be thankful! Thankful for freedom, thankful for grandmothers, thankful for a four-day weekend, thankful Jennifer Aniston joined Instagram — you know, the usual stuff. 

With Turkey Day just a few hours away, we thought we’d give you some test-taking tips you’re sure to be thankful for. 

Whether you’re staring down an end-of-the-semester test or prepping for an upcoming SAT or ACT exam, these common-sense suggestions will help you do your absolute best on the test.

1. Prepare a study plan in advance and stick with it

There’s no test hack to overcome being unprepared. Success on your test starts well before test day. That’s why a study plan is so important! If you’ll come up with a study strategy in advance and stick with it, you’re going to crush on test day.

2. Avoid cramming the night before the test

You know that gross feeling your body gets on Thanksgiving after you’ve crammed way too much turkey down your gullet? Well, that’s kind of how your brain feels if you stay up all night cramming algebraic equations. 

Instead of cramming at the last minute, top performers take advantage of study resources in the days, weeks, and even months leading up to their exams. 

3. Get a good night’s sleep

Things not to do the night before your test: 

Things to do the night before your test: 

  • Stay home 
  • Calmly review any weak academic areas
  • Go to bed a little early

4. Arrive a few minutes early

Rushing to class, or to your SAT or ACT testing site, can invite stress and affect your testing performance. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your school or testing center, get situated at your desk, and prepare to absolutely ace your exam.

5. Be strategically aware of your allotted time

If you are taking a timed test like the SAT or ACT exam, note how much time is allotted for the test (or for each section) and how many questions are being asked. After that, it’s all about staying on pace. 

For example, the SAT exam has a 65-minute Reading section made up of 52 multiple-choice questions. This gives you one minute and 15 seconds per question. Keep your eye on the clock and move through the section accordingly.

6. On multiple-choice tests, read the question, think of your answer, and THEN look for that answer in the answer choices. 

This is a testing best practice that will help you avoid confusing distractors. 

Note: If you are not sure of the answer immediately after reading the question, this is the time to look at the answer choices and begin eliminating options that are obviously wrong.

7. Stay positive

Optimism, positivity, good vibes — whatever term you choose, it works! Don’t get discouraged if you struggle with a question or even a section of your exam; the next question is a new opportunity for success!

8. Trust your practice

When taking a high-stakes exam like the ACT, SAT, or an AP exam, it is recommended to use a supplemental resource to help you prepare for the test. UWorld is a good example of a learning tool that can help you. With challenging questions that mimic the actual exam, detailed explanations for correct and incorrect answer selections, helpful self-assessments, and accurate score predictors, this top choice for high performers will have you ready for test day. When you sit down to take your exam, you’ll be super confident, and the practice you put in will definitely pay off!

9. Go with your gut

Unless you are persuaded another answer option is correct, stick with your first answer choice. Second-guessing yourself wastes valuable time and erodes your confidence. Trust your instincts.

10. Review your answers

When you complete your test, if there is time, be sure to review your answers. Make sure you followed the instructions, completely filled in all answer bubbles, and answered every question on the test. Don’t overthink or obsess, just review.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Have a great Thanksgiving!


UWorld is an online learning tool that millions of students have used to prepare for their high-stakes exams. If you want to hit your dream SAT or ACT test score, click below to see why we are the top choice for high performers. You can even sign up for a FREE seven-day trial!