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How to Boost Your Score on Test Day
By: Gen and Kelly Tanabe

Bubble correctly.

It's common sense, but bubbling "off count" has been done incorrectly often enough to merit mention. Make sure that you fill the correct bubble, especially when you skip questions. Since the answer sheets are boxed by fives, you can check to see that you are on the correct question every five questions. It only takes a second and it can save you having to go back over ten or even twenty problems because you discover on question number 32 that you are bubbling in #31.

Test your tools before you get to the test site.

Be sure you have a working calculator. If it's solar powered, you might want to bring a battery-powered back up just in case it's an overcast day. If you need to bring a tape recorder for a language test, make certain that it plays and the sound is clear. You want all your tools to be in working order. The worst thing that can happen during the test is to waste time fiddling with your equipment.

Bring a snack.

There will be a short break when you will be able to use the bathroom, get a drink of water and perhaps commiserate with your fellow test-takers. At this time you may want to wolf down a satisfying Snickers to give you that burst of sugar-induced energy that can get you through the second half of the exam. It's important to feed your body during this grueling exam.

Final Thoughts ...

Hopefully these tips will help you relax and do better on the day of the SAT or ACT. Try not to be too nervous taking the exams. Unlike playing in a championship game where you get one shot at the title, with the SAT or ACT, there is almost always the chance for a "do over." If you feel that you didn't do as well as you could have the first time you took one of these college-entrance exams, there is good news: studies suggest that students typically raise their scores the second time. In fact, we recommend that you take the SAT or ACT at least two or three times since almost all colleges count only your highest scores.

It's also not the end of the world if you don't do as well on a test as you expected. Even if you are not able to take the test again, spend the rest of your time writing a killer application instead. Admissions officers are interested in more than just the numbers. When they evaluate students' applications, they take into consideration all the components including the application, evaluation letters, essay, academic record, awards, work experience, leadership, extracurricular activities and interview. To think that test scores top all these factors is simply not true.

About the Author

Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.

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