SAT-minus-1: Are You Ready For Liftoff

By: Bruce Smith

You’ve made it through weeks, if not months, of study. You know the format and directions of the SAT test cold. You’ve developed strategies to show off your strengths and offset your weaker areas. What’s left?

Essentially, the last step in SAT preparation involves ensuring you’re at your best, physically as well as mentally, minimizing all distractions so that your entire focus can be on finishing strong in this academic marathon. Here’s a list of the top 5 things you should do during SAT exam week.

1. *PRACTICE THE WAY YOU WANT TO PERFORM*

It’s a cliché in sports and the arts that the way you practice is the way you’ll perform. Your studying this week should replicate as much as possible the conditions of the actual SAT test. Take numerous practice tests, doing as many sections at once as you will on test day. The more your SAT prep resembles the test itself, especially as the day draws near, the more comfortable you will be when you sit down to take the real thing.

2. *MAKING A LIST AND CHECKING IT TWICE*

With at least three days remaining, compile a checklist of things to be done during the 24 hours before your SAT test begins. Put even the obvious, no-brainer tasks down on this list so that you can free up as much of your brain as possible and maximize your comfort level. The remaining tips in this article will provide you with the raw material necessary to develop this list.

3. *THE GATHERING STORM*

One key section of your SAT checklist will be the materials you need to bring with you to the testing center. These include your admission ticket, an acceptable photo ID, several #2 pencils and erasers, an acceptable calculator (with fresh batteries), and a watch with no audible alarm. Select a book bag or other means of carrying these items, and set them in a designated place in your home at least twelve hours before you leave for the testing center.

4. *GET ME TO THE TEST ON TIME*

After weeks of studying for the SAT, you should be quite capable of managing the logistics required to get yourself to the testing center with plenty of time to spare. Arrange for transportation (preferably, have someone else drive you and pick you up afterwards) and confirm your route beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Be sure to add in extra time for potential traffic or other delays, and write down the time you intend to leave your house.

Prior to going to bed the night before, set at least two alarms (one of which should be battery-powered), and/or arrange for a wakeup call if that would make you feel safer.

5. *MAKE SURE YOUR TANK IS FULL*

The last thing you want to be fighting while taking the SAT test is your own body. For at least three nights prior to test day make sure you get plenty of sleep, waking up at approximately the time you will need to on test day. Arrange to have a full, hot breakfast made for you to eat at a leisurely pace before arriving at the test center.

Finally, ease up on your studying the day before the test: focus more on your checklist, your familiarity with the SAT test, and your tricks and tools. Also, take some time to relax. Do something purely for fun: sometimes getting your mind off the SAT test is the best preparation. If you have given your SAT preparation all the time and care possible, this should be a time of confidence, knowing that it’s almost over and you’re as prepared as you possibly can be.

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