Testing Tips

When the time comes to take your college entrance exams, you want to be relaxed, confident and prepared. Here are a few tips to ensure testing day goes off without a hitch.

Jump to Section

The Day Before the Test

Think positively.
A good attitude is a powerful thing. You can do this. Be confident in your abilities. It will boost your energy and drive to succeed.

Don't cram.
Nothing sticks anyway. The night before the test, try to get into test mode: calm, confident and ready.

Gather what you need the night before.
You'll need your admission ticket, directions to the test location, a valid form of photo identification, several no. 2 pencils, an approved calculator (with extra batteries), a watch and, if you like, a small snack and something to drink to keep your energy up during the test (check beforehand to make sure your testing location allows outside food; some locations may offer snacks or drinks).

Eat a healthy meal the night before your exam.
You want to be energized and at your best the day of the test.

Go to bed early.
You want to get a full eight hours of sleep the night before your test so you're rested and alert, not drowsy and lethargic.

The Day of the Test

Give yourself extra time the morning of the test.
You want to be awake and relaxed. Set your alarm to go off a little early to ensure you have enough time and don't have to scramble to get ready. This will also allow for you to get to the testing facility on time.

Eat a healthy breakfast.
Again, you want to be energized. But don't eat too much; you don't want to be uncomfortably full when you take the exam.

Dress in layers.
Be prepared for different temperatures. You don't want to be distracted by being too cold or too hot while taking the test.

Use a soft lead no. 2 pencil.
One with a good eraser. Don't use a mechanical pencil or ink pen.

Read instructions carefully.
Don't skip over them. Different sections can have different procedures, so make sure you read the instructions for each one.

Read each question carefully.
Sometimes the correct answer to a question hinges on a single word, so read each question in its entirety.

Pace yourself.
Don't go too fast; you could overlook important details. And don't go too slow; you could be forced to rush at the end due to insufficient time.

Answer the easy questions first.
It will set a good pace. You can go back and answer the more difficult ones later.

Answer difficult questions through the process of elimination.
On questions you don't know, eliminate as many options you know are incorrect as you can so you increase your odds of choosing the correct response.

Use your test booklet for scratch paper.
Unless told not to, you may need room to scribble things out before making an answer, and you DO NOT want to doodle on your answer sheet.

Answer every question.
Most college entrance exams are multiple choice and scored on the number of questions you answer correctly, so guessing doesn't hurt; it's better than leaving the question blank. Most exams count wrong answers as only a fraction of a point off, which is something else to think about.

Review your work.
Check for any unanswered questions you may have skipped over, and revisit questions you struggled with to recheck your work.

Mark your answers neatly.
Completely erase any markings you don't want and make sure all of your answers are filled in completely.

Listen for the five-minute-remaining mark.
If you still have a lot of questions remaining, focus on those you feel most confident about.

When told "pencils down"—listen.
Be sure to stop marking on the test right away. Marking after the time has been called is grounds for dismissal, and your test will not be scored.

Take a deep breath.
You deserve it—you're done!

Related Resources


Taking College Entrance Exams

Understand the differences between each of the tests and which ones you should take.

Learn More

College Planning Timeline

See the steps to take at each grade level so you can be prepared.

Learn More