When Tomorrow Is Test Day

Published on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 by

With test day looming, it’s time for students to focus on rest, reducing stress, and reviewing their test-taking plan. Make sure students are clear on the following topics.

Number of Correct Answers Needed

Students should choose a goal raw score, that is the number of questions they need to answer correctly on each test section in order to earn their overall goal score. If your students have not already determined this, walk them through the activity here. If they have, make sure students have these numbers memorized and are ready to apply this plan.

Pace to Keep on Each Section

Students should also be prepared to work through each test at the appropriate pace. Remind students of the following recommended pacing plans. And be sure to remind them to bring a watch (but not a smart watch or one with an alarm).

  • English: 8 minutes per mini-test
  • Math: 1 minute per question*
  • Reading: 8 minutes per mini-test
  • Science: 5 minutes per mini-test

*Advanced students should aim to move through the first half of the Math test more quickly, leaving extra time for more challenging questions at the end. We recommend allotting 20 minutes for the first 30 questions and 40 minutes for the second 30 questions.

What to Bring

Make sure students have the following items with them to test day. Learn about permissible watches and calculators here.

  • Photo ID
  • Sharpened No. 2 pencils
  • Watch
  • Calculator
  • Snack and/or water bottle

Rest and Well-being

Remind students that they can only perform their best if their mind and body are focused, healthy, and energetic. This means resting and eating well leading up to the test. Discourage students from staying up late to prep for the test or otherwise getting distracted from a reasonable bed time. They should also plan to eat a filling breakfast, dress in layers, and bring a snack for the test. Find more tips on how to reduce stress and improve test performance here.

Finally, encourage students to do their best and reassure them they are capable and prepared. It’s time to put their preparation into action!