5 Common Test-Day Mistakes To Avoid

  • Posted By: Erin Lynch
  • September 12, 2018

It’s test day! After all of your preparation and practice, you’re finally here—your hard work is about to pay off.

But, you don’t want to make an easily-preventable error on test day. Here’s a list of common mistakes that you should be sure to avoid:

1.  Forgetting your supplies

For both the ISEE and the SSAT, bring at least three #2 pencils and a good eraser to use during the test. For the ISEE, you'll also need a blue or black pen for the essay section—bring two pens to be safe. Bring a water bottle, and a snack in a clear plastic bag. It’s a long test, so you’ll want to be hydrated and energized. On that note, don’t forget to sleep well the night before, and to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning!

2. Losing track of time

In the pressure of test day, it can be easy to lose track of time. Make sure to follow your time management strategy: easy questions first, then hard questions. Use the wall clock to keep track of the remaining time on each section.

3. Misreading directions

Make sure that you read the directions carefully for each section, and for each question. Don’t assume that you know all the question types already—make sure that you know exactly what each question is asking you to do.

4. Making mistakes on your answer sheet

Remember: a machine is grading your test, not a person! That means that your bubbles on the answer sheet need to be filled in very carefully. Be careful that you don’t skip any lines as you fill in the bubbles for each section. If you change an answer, make sure that you erase the bubble completely, so that you don’t confuse the machine.

5. Not showing your work

You can draw and write in the test booklet as much as you want during the test. Don’t forget that it’s important to show your work for all the math problems so that you don't arrive at the wrong answer. It is also beneficial to underline and annotate in the reading and verbal sections. Writing down as much of your process as possible will help you to succeed on each of the sections.