1. Showing up late
You will be surprised by how many people show up late to the test center. You can easily avoid that by leaving earlier, packing everything you need the night before test day, triple-checking your alarm and/or having multiple alarm, and making sure you have a full tank of gas.
2. Not eating breakfast!
Tests are hard work. You need your fuel. Don't forget to eat a healthy breakfast before your test.
3. Not sleeping well
Again, you need to be at your best. Start getting into the habit of sleeping well long before your test. Worst case, at least sleep well the night of the test.
4. Not Checking the Format of the Test
Essays? Short answer? Multiple-choice? Do you know what you will be asked? Make sure about the format and avoid being surprised.
5. Not reading the directions
The wording of directions can be tricky. Make sure to read each question carefully to make sure you understand what’s actually being asked. Don't assume that the instructions are exactly the same as in your practice tests. Also, reading instructions will prime your mind and will make it easier for you to retrieve information from your mind.
6. Choosing an answer without reading all the choices
For multiple-choice questions, scan all the possible answers before diving in. Sometimes there are answer options like “All of the Above” or “A and C.” You don’t want to have answered “A” and moved on without reading the rest.
7. Getting Stuck on one Tough Question
If a question has you stumped, don’t waste all your time trying to figure it out. Move on and then come back later. Your subconscious will be working on the problem in the background and when you come back, you may be able to solve it.
8. Making Careless Errors on Easy Questions
Slow down on the questions you know you can ace. You won’t make careless mistakes, and you’ll be sure to pick up the maximum number of points.
9. Writing without an Outline
If you’re asked to write an essay, take a moment to outline your ideas before you start writing. Jot down some of your key points in the order you want to make them. Your test will read better and you won’t waste time crossing things out.
10. Second-guess Yourself
If you have time to review your answers and you find a silly error, by all means fix it. But most times you want to go with your gut, rather than over thinking your answers. Many students just end up changing the right answer to the wrong one!
11. Using Messy Handwriting
Help your grader by writing clearly, so they don't have to decipher your answer.
12. Forgetting to Watch the Time
Pacing is critical. That is why Hillview Prep emphasis pacing during our coaching. You don't want to run out of time. You don't want to make silly errors.
13. Getting too Stressed
Relax! Remember, you have practiced and know your stuff. Trust yourself. Plus, for SAT and ACT, you can take it again. Well, for ACT, you can even delete your scores after your received them!
Join our newsletter and stay up to date with:
- Useful Admissions Information
- Little Known Financial Aid Facts
- Test Prep Tips
- Admissions & Test Prep Stories