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Ten Things You Should Do the Night before a Test

By Laura Larimer, Abshier House

Everything worth doing benefits from proper planning, and taking a test is no exception. The last chance a student has to influence the outcome of a test is the night before they take it. Here are ten must-dos to positively affect the outcome of a test.

Eat a well-balanced meal

It’s a proven fact that what you eat will have an effect on your physical and mental performance. Avoid coffee and doughnuts or pizza and soda the night before a test. Grilled fish with steamed vegetables on the side, mixed fruit for dessert, and caffeine-free beverages throughout would be perfect. Greasy, heavy food can make you lethargic the morning after consumption. No alcoholic beverages of any kind should be consumed.

Get your stuff ready for the morning

Make sure you have all the materials that you’re taking into the test ready. If a laptop or calculator is allowed, have it on the charger. Have more than one pencil or pen in hand. Pack a bottle of water and/or some candy for the nervous dry-mouth that can set in before an exam. Gather all your stuff together and have it ready to go the night before.

Lay out your clothes

Choose an outfit that is layered and lay it out before retiring. You won’t have any control over the temperature of the testing area, so be prepared to add or subtract layers so you can be comfortable during the exam. Go for comfort, not style.

Review with a buddy

Schedule a question-answer review of the testable material with a study buddy early in the evening to test your knowledge of the subject. Use it to identify the areas that need more effort. The review will also help you have confidence in your ability to do well on the test.

Visualize a positive outcome

Attitude affects test scores. Even with proper planning, too many people hurt their performance on a test because they just know that they're going to fail. Think positively and don’t embrace failure as an outcome. Don’t think that you might fail, know that you will succeed, and your performance will be the better for it.

Make a morning pre-test plan

List the things you need to do before the test. List everything that needs to happen and make sure there’s enough time to get it all done without creating stress. Don’t try to do too much; now is not the time to try to work in a load of laundry.

Set the alarm

No-brainer, huh? You’d be surprised how often this happens to well-intentioned people. Check your morning plan and get up early enough not to be rushed. Don’t rely on others to get you up.

Exercise before retiring

A little light stretching and exercise will help you fall asleep faster and sleep soundly through the night. It also works out the tension you may be carrying after a day of studying and test prep. If you go to bed tense, you may wake up with a backache or headache — definitely not appreciated on the day of a test.

Get a good night’s sleep

Don’t burn the midnight oil the night before a test. The extra effort put into late-night studying will be offset by reduced mental performance due to lost sleep. It won’t help, so don’t try it. Call it a night and go to bed; your morning will be better for it.

Reward yourself

Treat yourself right. Remember to schedule a little post-test celebration or other reward for all your hard work preparing for the test. Make it special. After all, you are worth it!

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