Top Five Test Taking Tips! Plus, How to Prep for the SAT and ACT


Test-taking can be incredibly nerve-wracking for students. Even if you're a pro at studying, it's normal to feel nervous before your big exam—especially if your test score can impact future plans. To ace your next test, implement the following five test-taking strategies! Plus, if you're a high schooler, learn how to prepare for the SAT or ACT.

5 test-taking tips for high school students

1. Be prepared

When you're about to take a big exam, you want to be as prepared as possible. For most students, it's tempting to wait until the last minute to study, but cramming study material the night before isn't a plan. To ensure you're familiar with the test material and understand the concepts you'll be tested on, create a study plan well before your big test day. By studying in advance with flashcards, study guides, practice tests, or with your peers, you'll be on the right track to crush that test!

To practice test-taking itself, use a practice test. Tests are all structured differently, and there's no doubt your math test will differ from your history test. With a practice exam, you can familiarize yourself with the type of questions on a test, allowing you to practice essay questions, multiple choice, or write-in answers.

2. Get enough rest

If you're considering staying up all night for a final study session the night before your test, don't do it! A good night's sleep is crucial as it improves memory recall and your overall test performance.

3. Shake off those exam day jitters

Wiggle your fingers and toes to shake out any nerves you may have. Test anxiety can feel paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be. Take a few deep breaths and shoo away negative thoughts with some positive affirmations. Reassure yourself that you know this material and you’re going to do great!  

4. Read test questions carefully

You may be tempted to rush through your test. To make sure you're answering questions correctly, you should take your time reading both the questions and the answers. You might miss something important if you rush.

Nevertheless, if you get stuck on a question, don't stress. It's easy to guess on a multiple choice question, but if possible, go back to the question later and answer it to the best of your ability.

5. Review your answers

Woohoo! You've finished your test. You may just want to get it over with and submit your exam as soon as possible, but take a minute to review your answers and double-check for mistakes. You could discover that you missed a question or misspelled a word. A quick pass-through will ensure you've given it your all.

How to prep for the SAT or the ACT


The SAT and ACT help colleges determine college readiness in high school students. Whether you take the SAT or ACT, your score can help you stand out on college applications.

SAT and ACT prep

Planning to take the SAT? Try taking the PSAT first. The PSAT allows high school students to practice for the SAT, giving them a taste of the testing structure and environment. By taking the PSAT, students can determine where they're at when they receive their scores. Most questions on the PSAT, like the SAT, are multiple choice and have some write-in math questions.

The Princeton Review offers a variety of courses and tutoring options to help students prepare for the ACT or SAT. Students can choose to take a self-paced course or courses with live instruction and full-length, proctored, and reviewed practice exams. They also offer live webinars and events for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT.

Additionally, students taking the SAT can use free resources from the College Board’s partner, Khan Academy. For the ACT, students can prep using Kaplan’s free practice exam, ACT pop quiz, and the question of the day.

Prep for Laurel Springs School students

Laurel Springs School offers an SAT prep and ACT prep semester-long course for upper school students. Both courses are adaptive and determine students’ strengths and weaknesses to help them improve. Students will take three full-length practice exams to prepare them for the SAT or ACT.

In addition to our SAT and ACT prep courses, Laurel Springs students can receive exclusive discounts on The Princeton Review’s SAT or ACT prep courses and tutoring packages. 

If you’re a full-time Laurel Springs student taking an upcoming SAT or ACT test, use the following CEEB code when testing: 052256.