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By Chris Thomas on November 17th, 2010

If your high school graduation is in sight (with college not too far behind), it's probably high time to take a standardized test for admissions. Thus, we're presenting our favorite tips in this three-part blog series about the SATs and ACTs.

As The Smackdown shows, choosing between the two tests is really a matter of preference: they're virtually interchangeable to college admissions. Regardless of which test you choose, there are tactics for getting the most out of your standardized experience.

Part One: Get plenty of rest
Life can be hectic, and sometimes getting to bed a bit late is perfectly understandable. But do yourself a favor: during standardized test week, get more sleep. It seems like a no-brainer, but young adults are getting less and less sleep every year, and it's affecting their academic performance. Young adults should average between eight and nine hours of sleep every night in order to achieve full mental functionality, but most high school seniors average just six and a half. And that's not all: studies have shown that just 15 minutes of extra sleep can mean the difference of a full letter grade.

So more sleep can influence letter grades. What about SAT/ACT topics? Since you've asked, one 2009 study showed that better quality sleep is correlated with higher math scores; English scores can benefit from more peaceful awakenings. So why chance functional impairment on the big day, just to stay up a few more hours the night before?

When SAT/ACT week crops up, take the time to acclimate yourself to healthier sleeping habits. You just might achieve better scores and, in turn, boost your chances of being accepted by the college of your choice.

Stay tuned for Part Two: Pay attention.

Photo taken from this photostream and used with permission of a Creative Commons license.