Sarah Jannings

LAKE MICHIGAN CATHOLIC- There’s no secret formula or magic to passing a standardized test. Just take a deep breath, read through our test prep advice, and rest easy knowing that you’re doing everything you can to make sure you do well – starting with reading these testing tips!


  1. Start Studying!  Good study habits and studying consistently are very important to help students succeed, especially for standardized tests.  Study an hour a day over the course of several weeks because it is much more effective than cramming for a test the night before.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep.  Studies like the one conducted by researchers at UCLA have shown that lost sleep from the cram session the night before a standardized test does more harm than whatever benefits students get from studying late into the night. It’s better to spread effort out over time so that the brain will have more time to absorb the information and students will show up to the test refreshed and positioned to do their best.
  3. Mix up your study activities.  Decided to get a head start on your studying? Should you just keep rereading the same textbook? Of course not! Change up your study activities. Read a chapter out of a textbook one night, then take a practice test on another, and watch an instructional video the following night. The more often and different ways you can expose yourself to the material, the better you’ll retain it – and the more likely you are to pass your exam.
  4. Try to understand the test from the perspective of the test writer. A content-based test – one that asks you to answer questions by providing facts, like a history exam – will require a different kind of studying than a skills-based test, like a math test or the SAT or LSAT, where you’ll need to understand and demonstrate the use of a critical thinking skill (for example, by applying the correct formula or demonstrating comprehension of a complex text).
  5. Understand how the test is scored. Are you penalized for an incorrect guess? How much time do you have to answer all of the questions? If it’s a digital test rather than one administered with pen and paper, can you go back and review your answers?  Asking these questions to your guidance counselor, teachers, or school administrators will help you to be more prepared and relaxed when it comes test day.
  6. Set yourself up to succeed on the day of the test. Have a good breakfast – skip the sugary cereal and go for scrambled eggs or some yogurt and granola; something with some protein, which will keep you from crashing five questions in.  Show up early and always use the restroom before hand. Make sure you have whatever you need for the test such as work to work on after you finish.
  7. Don´t Panic.  If you’re getting anxious, take slow, deep breaths and remind yourself that you did your work and you’re prepared for the test. Don’t worry about the people around you and whether they already finished – smart people know they should use all of their time to make the wise answer choices.