Before the Test

The Night Before




The best thing you can do for yourself before any test is to get a good night’s sleep. If you find you’re so keyed up that you don’t think you’ll be able to sleep, try listening to relaxing music, or exercising and then taking a warm bath. If you’re lying in bed wakefully, try concentrating on your breathing: breathe in for 4 to 6 counts, hold your breath for another 4 to 6 counts, exhale for 4 to 6 counts. Concentrating on breathing or on visualizing an image of a person or place often helps people to block out distractions and enables them to relax.



The night before the test, set out everything you’re going to need the next day. You will need your admission ticket, a photo ID (a driver’s license or a nondriver picture ID, a passport, or a school ID), four or five sharp No. 2 pencils (with erasers), plus a map or directions showing how to get to the test center. Set out an accurate watch (one that doesn’t beep) plus a calculator with charged batteries to use on the math sections.

Lay out comfortable clothes for the next day, including a sweater in case the room is cold. Consider bringing along a snack, a treat you can munch on during the break.



Allow plenty of time for getting to the test site. If you haven’t been there before, locate the test center on a map and figure out the best route. To be sure you know the way, take a trip to the site before the day of the test. The test starts at 8:00 AM—you’ve no time to get lost. If you’re using public transportation, check your bus or subway schedule, and be sure you’ve got a token or ticket or the correct change. If you’re driving, check that there’s gas in the car. Your job is taking the test. You don’t need the extra tension that comes from worrying about whether you will get to the test on time, or the extra distraction that comes from kicking yourself for losing test time by being late.