Our 10 Best SAT & ACT Test-Prep Tips

Tips include dedicating a little time every day to studying, not cramming, knowing what to bring, and planning extra time to get to the test location if it's not at your school.
Students taking the SAT or ACT in a classroom

If you're in the middle of the college admissions process, you'll probably spend at least one Saturday in a school gym, cafeteria, or library taking a college entrance standardized exam. We put our heads together here at MEFA to compile our best tips for these standardized tests. Below you'll find our advice on studying and how to spend your time in the hours leading up to the test.

MEFA's Test-Prep Tips:

  1. Using the free materials on the SAT® and ACT® websites to study
  2. Dedicate a little time each day to studying so you don't get overwhelmed as the test date gets close. Nothing can replace quality preparation time.
  3. Take an actual practice test (or several) to become familiar with the testing format as well as the content of the material covered.
  4. Read to increase your vocabulary: fiction, non-fiction, new & old books, newspapers, magazines, and articles online.
  5. Try your best to take it easy and stay healthy in the weeks leading up to the test.
  6. Don't try to cram or stay up late studying the night before the test. You're better off being well-rested than knowing one or two extra test-related tidbits.
  7. Check to make sure your alarm is set correctly so you don't oversleep.
  8. Eat a sufficient breakfast the morning of the test.
  9. Know exactly what you're permitted to bring to the test. Remember your admission ticket, No. 2 pencils, approved calculator, photo ID, and watch.
  10. If the test is being held somewhere other than your own school, be sure to check the location/directions before the morning of the test so you don't get lost. Plan some extra time to find your way around an unfamiliar building.

Once you're ready to head to the test, read our test-taking tips to prepare.

View the test-taking tips