1. Your habits will present themselves on the check ride. Yep, That's true! Many times I will hear from the applicant and the recommending instructor "We where just working on that" or " I thought we had fixed that problem". One of the laws of learning is "First learned, Best remembered" This is why it is important to teach correctly the first time. It is very hard to correct undesirable behavior once it is learned. The added stress and fixation experienced during a check ride causes the applicant to revert to old habits.
2. Fly like you train and train like you fly. An old military quote. Basically I'll sum it up this way. Fly the way you where taught by you flight instructor. If you are tempted to try something you read on the internet or follow advice from a friend on your check ride, DON'T! The results rarely come out in your favor.
3. Know and follow the emergency procedures for your aircraft. This has been an issue lately on Multi engine check rides. One Multi applicant failed to retract the landing gear during take off which wouldn't have been a big deal if an engine hadn't failed. Unfortunately, the applicant didn't follow the emergency procedure (which called for retracting the gear). Not only did the added drag from the gear help to rapidly slow the airplane, the nose gear steering linkages make the rudder harder to push. The applicant quickly lost directional control of the airplane. The examiner had to recover the airplane.
4. Relax, breath and slow down. This is especially true during emergency situations and during check rides. If you rush, mistakes will be made. Start some self-talk....Ok, fly the airplane, What is happening here?....What do I need to do?....Fly the airplane.....
5. What is the ACS? Airmen Certification Standards. The ACS is the replacement for the PTS. The Private, Instrument and Commercial Airplane check rides are conducted in accordance with the ACS at present time. The rest of the PTS's will be phased out in short order. Keep and eye on the FAA website for updates.
Unfortunately, some instructors are not using the ACS as a training/testing guide and are surprised when their student is sent home with a Notice of Disapproval. The ACS is different than the PTS and there are significant changes. You can grab the latest copy of the ACS more details on the transition at www.faa.gov.