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  • Writer's pictureJeff Boron

Test Prep Tips for High Schoolers Bound for a College Future

Updated: May 23

Welcome back to the Send Your Kids to College Blog! We use this blog as a resource for students and families around WNY to better understand college life. Today is May 20th, and if you have a high school kid, they’re probably getting close to the end of the year. For most kids, this means the beginning of summer, but for kids bound for college, this means TEST PREP SEASON. Today on the blog we are going to provide a few test prep tips for final exams that will also be beneficial in the future when a student will be all on their own at college. That’s right students, you won’t have anyone pushing you to study or prepare once you get to college, it will be on YOU to prepare!

So let’s look at a few test prep tips!

We’re going to break these down into 2 different categories, which can apply to anything from your end-of-the-year exams, to your SAT and/or ACT, to future tests in college!

Physical Preparation

Mental Preparation

Physical Preparation-

1. Sleep

Preparing your physical body for tests is one of the easiest things you can control. Ensuring you get a good night's sleep is extremely important to your overall mindset heading into a test. A poor night’s sleep or insufficient sleep can be a true detriment to your ability to problem solve, recall information, and feel confident and optimistic about yourself and your ability to do well on your test. 

2. Don’t Cram

In addition to not staying up all night the night before the test, you should condition yourself to be prepared to ensure the entire test with a sound mind. This helps to create a study plan that slowly increases leading up to the exam.

 Think of it like training for a sporting event. You wouldn’t just show up on game day without practicing, training, or stretching. Create a study plan that increases over time, so you can handle more and more studying without losing steam and getting tired out. This will have you ready for test day.

3. Eat Healthy

If you aren’t a breakfast person, you might want to consider becoming one as you lead up to exams. Research has shown that students who eat breakfast perform better on tests. This doesn’t mean grabbing a Big Texas cinnamon roll out of the vending machine 5 minutes before either. 

Consider having a nutritious breakfast each day of the week leading up to your exam. Slow-release carbs like oat &, grain bread can provide slow-release energy, and protein from milk, yogurt, and eggs can provide good energy and help you feel full longer. Also, make sure you’re giving your brain enough water to thrive! Dehydration can lead to tiredness, headaches, and reduced concentration and alertness. If you’re allowed, take a bottle of water into your test to stay hydrated.

4. Arrive EARLY, & Plan AHEAD.

One last tip for being physically prepared that you can control is to get to your exam early. Getting to your test early can take an enormous amount of stress off your plate, and allow you to get into a positive state of mind. Have your things prepared the night before, especially if you have a test early in the morning.

This means all your test-taking materials, pens/pencils, calculator, ID, and any registration paperwork... but even more specifics like what you may want to wear! Make sure you have gas or an early ride. Visualize the entire test day in the days leading up, and visualize yourself feeling confident and acing this test!

Mental Preparation- 

5. Study Right After School/Class

Taking good notes is the key to good studying. Ensure you are taking good notes to help yourself study when you’re not with a teacher, study partner, or parent. Taking good notes in class also helps to ensure you remember what you’re being taught. After school/class, take some time to summarize your notes and clarify any questions you may have before the actual test day.

Find out what you most need to study, and start your study plan there. 

6. Develop YOUR Study Plan

Not everyone studies the same way. Talk to your fellow students about how they plan to study for their exams. You may find a new idea or tip that helps them, but you also may find out that this method may not work for you. You need to learn how YOU study well because eventually, you won't have someone looking over your shoulder.

Utilize all the tools your teachers provide, but also help yourself create alternative ways to help you remember what's most important to you. Time can be your friend if you allow it to be. Finding blocks of time to study is the most important first step, and starting slowly, the earlier the better is recommended. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to prepare. 

7. Develop Positive Mental Rituals

This, like study plans, will differ from kid to kid. But part of doing well on any exam or test is battling your own mind. As you slowly gear up for your exam and study a bit more each day, you can mentally create positive rituals that help your self-talk when you feel doubt.

Positive thinking rituals can help reduce negative thinking and anxiety during the test. The more you study, the more you will feel confident in yourself that "you KNOW this answer," and the more you study, the better your breathing and relaxation will be during test day. 

8. Consider a Tutor or Team

The last tip we will go over today is the consideration of working with a test prep tutor. There are plenty of tutors (we may know a few!) that can help you study, but just remember once you get to college, you may not have access to these resources.

This is where working with a team or study partner can also benefit. By working with someone else on a scheduled basis, you can give yourself a tool that you can’t necessarily get studying alone. Someone to quiz you, test you and provide feedback. This can also help you to create positive rituals for when you’re alone on test day. When you get to college, you’ll want to find someone you can study with to help you in your specific program. Iron sharpens iron!

We hope this helped you get a few new good ideas for acing your next exam! If you ever need any assistance with studying for an exam or an SAT/ACT, we do have tutors available to help! Parents and students can reach out via our contact form or visit to learn more about that! Good luck with the final exams this year!


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