If you don’t put any thought into your test day routine, you could leave
several points off the board. That might be the difference between
getting the score you want vs. getting the score that sinks your heart
and upsets your stomach.
What you do on test day (and the night before) plays a large role in
maximizing how prepared you are.
With that in mind, you need a plan.
Luckily, there are seven steps you can take to ensure you have a
perfect test day.
As always, the first step is to avoid cramming.
The following steps assume you have studied well in advance of your
test and don’t need to cram. The steps assume this because
cramming is an awful idea and will affect your test score much more
than having a bad test day schedule.
It’s like trying to eat a week’s worth of meals in a single sitting; there’s
only so much you can take in before it becomes too much.
So… don’t cram.
Prepare the Night Before
The most important parts of your test day schedule will actually
happen before test day arrives.
The night before your test is a crucial time to prep and rest. Make sure
your clothes are washed and set out. Make sure your bag is packed.
Eat a healthy dinner that avoids food and drinks that would affect you
the next day.
And most importantly, get enough sleep!
Don’t make plans that will keep you out late. In fact, if you’re prone to
test anxiety, you might want to go to bed earlier than usual.
Your nerves might keep you up in bed, so you need to give yourself
plenty of time to fall and stay asleep.
If you go to bed early, you can wake up early.
Even if you’re a night owl, it might be beneficial to wake up earlier on
test day so you aren’t rushed.
But this is dependent on what time your test is at.
The general theme, regardless of test time, is that you shouldn’t feel
rushed on test day. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready, eat, destress, and get to your test. You don’t want to be the person who has
to sprint to the room to avoid getting locked out. That’s a bad mental
state to start your test in.
Additionally, you don’t want to skip breakfast because you don’t have
time to eat it.
Eat a Simple Breakfast
Speaking of breakfast, you should probably eat before you leave for
You don’t want your stomach to be growling while you take your test,
especially if the test lasts for several hours. Test anxiety will only
exacerbate the problem. Eat something to keep your stomach at ease,
but avoid things that are too sugary or that will make you feel groggy
like fried foods.
If your normal breakfast fits in that category, then it’s best to eat your
Follow Your Regular Routine
Today is not the day to start a new workout routine or try coffee for
the first time. You don’t want to introduce a new variable to your life
when you aren’t sure how it will affect you.
Today should be all about normalcy. If you normally drink a latte in the
morning, drink a latte in the morning. If you normally go for a walk, go
for a walk.
Your body is already stressed enough, you don’t need to put it
through anything else unusual.
Today is not the day to study.
That should’ve happened in the months, weeks, and days before this.
Chances are, studying on test day will just stress you out. Missing a
practice question or forgetting a small concept can really cause a lot
of self-doubt going into the exam. It’s best to avoid studying entirely
and focus on prepping for the exam in all the other ways we’ve
covered so far.
You want your brain to be fresh, confident, and fueled for the big test
Take It Easy
Your test day doesn’t end once you leave the testing room.
There’s one final step that you should always remember: relaxing and
rewarding yourself! Regardless of how the test went, take time to get
some ice cream, hang out with friends, or zone out on the couch while
If you studied hard and avoided cramming, you should be proud of
The actions you take on the day of (and night before) your test are
just as crucial as the weeks and months of preparation leading up to
A structured test day routine is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for those
who aim for peak performance. By following these seven steps, you’re
setting the stage for success.