Let’s say you find yourself just days before the big test. Maybe you studied all throughout the semester, or maybe you found yourself putting it off just days until. What do you do? Don’t fret! There are still a couple of things you can do to prepare for the test. Here are our last minute act tips for the actual test.
Before we start with things you should do, here is something you should avoid at all costs. Do not focus on every single thing you don’t know. I know, especially when pressure is involved, that it is easy to attempt to do everything in two days. But avoid that.
Instead, pick big weaknesses in your strategies, and target those. It is way better to nail those in, than to try to absorb everything at once, especially if you do not have a lot of time. Plus, the ACT will require you to wake up early and be ready for test-taking. If you pull all-nighters, there will not be enough time to recover before the test. This is important. Many students I know, myself included, have stayed up far too late, only to be exhausted during test day. Save yourself the time, and stick to a small number of concepts (three max) and a brief overview.
In the last moments of studying, try to have an idea of how much time you are spending learning versus studying. In other words, create a short schedule. This way, you will have an idea of how these upcoming days will look, and have a plan for your studying. Since the ACT is so close, it is better to not over-study. Instead, focus on memorizing formulas, defining vocabulary, or practicing once more in a final practice test.
As mentioned, try not to dwell on completely foreign concepts. Instead, brush up on some skills with light review. Whether it is with a video, notes, or a study group, pay attention to absorbing the details, much rather than stressing about knowing them. Focus on the review process and memorization.
If you are determined to study new content, then limit the amount of concepts. More importantly, focus on being present with the text. Try to avoid getting frustrated or distracted. Instead, find another way to engage with the material. For example, if it involves memorizing a formula, then reading it aloud and writing them down is beneficial. However, if it is a concept, then performing practice questions might be better. Remember, how you study is just as important as the time you devote to it.
In a similar vein, prioritize your sleep schedule. It might be incredibly tempting to push it, to study later into the night. However, as mentioned earlier, this can actually be quite detrimental. If you are going to stay up, just ensure that you are still going to get the necessary hours of sleep and (and that you are considering the amount of time it takes to fall asleep). At the very least, if you must stay up later to study, then keep track of the time. Have a hard boundary.
Listen. It’s the last day before the ACT. The test is already here, and no matter what, it isn’t worth your stress. You have already done the best that you can do. So, try to relax. No studying. Close those books, get away from all those study guides. Avoid dwelling on the time spent, or any mistakes that might’ve been made in the process.
Try to focus on the positives. Maintain a bright outlook– look, even if you didn’t get to study as much as you wanted, you are never going to know how you will fare. Who’s to say you won’t do well? Staying positive is important! Not just because you deserve it– but because stressing will not help you. In fact, stress can often make our test-taking abilities worse. When we doubt ourselves or incorporate limiting beliefs, it can impact our decision-making abilities. Avoid the anxiety and stress.
Being in a better mindset will offset the anxiety, and can even boost confidence. Having a great deal of confidence is often tied to improving our performance. So, envision yourself succeeding. Not sure what that looks like? Close your eyes, and feel what it would be like if you got out of the test with the score you want. Picture the feeling of success, relief, and excitement all rolled into one.
The ACT can be a daunting task for anyone to complete. It’s a long test, with several sections. So, applaud yourself for being able to complete it. Notice the little things. It can be a lot of pressure, so you deserve the mental break. Whether you studied for months or days, it is better to have tried something than nothing at all. Use these ACT tips to grow your confidence and prep for the last couple of days before the big test. Get out there and plan for your success!
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