Sleep: Another Secret Weapon for SAT/ACT Success

By General Education Advice

sleeping_0_08162011124405My most popular and perhaps only subversive SAT and ACT tip is telling students to sleep in on the day before the SAT or ACT (as in Friday, a school day, shh, don’t tell school officials). Sleep in as in sleep until 8 or 9 am as opposed to getting up at 6 or 6:30 like most students do on a regular basis.

Having trained Connecticut students in standardized tests for the last fifteen years, I have become a performance coach for high stakes exams. “Well rested” is one of the most underrated aspects of strong performance on big tests that measure problem solving ability. As an aside, well rested is not as important for memory based tests. That’s one reason why students can pull an all night cram session and do reasonably well on certain tests. Try that with the SATs or ACTs and it would be a recipe for disaster.

The brain does not work when tired. Most every parent knows the challenge of having stayed up too late the night before and then struggling to keep one’s eyes open during meetings or other work activities.

I go so far as to tell students to go to bed early the weekend before the SAT or ACT. Good sleep over a multiple period of days equals well rested and well rested often equals test taking success.