If your SAT test date is coming up fast and you don’t feel confident yet, don’t stress. These last minute SAT tips will help you prepare physically and mentally for the test day itself.
10 Last Minute SAT Tips That’ll Prepare You For Test Day
Sharpen Up Your Weak Spots
Take the time you have left to master your problem sections.
It’s easy to keep plugging away at SAT practice tests, get the answers, what you’re still getting wrong, and move on. However, the key is to understand why you’re still getting things wrong.
Figure out what you’re either not fundamentally understanding or work out a strategy to crack that particular question type. Go through your past practice tests, isolate the sections that are still problems and work on them.
At that point, you should have both the knowledge and strategy to answer them right on test day. Even if you do this for just one section, your overall score will dramatically improve.
Get Your Timing Down
Don’t be shocked when you hear “time’s up” and you haven’t answered all of the questions.
Remember that when every timed section ends, you have to move onto the next one. Go through each section on your practice tests, and time out how long it takes you to finish them.
Time yourself realistically while working through them; don’t take short cuts. When time’s up look back and see if everything’s been answered.
If not, look at what’s left, and figure out how long you’re still taking. Work on shaving down your answer time without sacrificing accuracy.
Strategically Plan Your Sleep
Get to bed early and try to get at least eight hours of sleep before the test.
You’ll give your brain more time to unwind and enter deep, resting sleep. Again, as far as hours go, aim for at minimum eight to nine hours.
Seven hours is acceptable, but absolutely no less. When it comes to waking up, give yourself at least an hour before leaving for the test.
You’ll give yourself enough time to eat, and let your brain start revving up its cylinders. Once you reach the testing center, you are fully alert.
Make Sure To Eat Before Leaving Home
Give your body the energy it needs to keep focused.
Regarding what to eat, make yourself something protein-rich like eggs. Protein-rich foods release sustainable energy and avoid the crashes that sugars create.
If you don’t eat breakfast regularly, it’s ok to eat something else like granola. Also, bring some granola or nuts with you for snacking at the break. If you drink coffee, then feel free to have some that morning.
If you normally don’t drink it, then leave it alone that day. Your body will experience a strong caffeine rush that reduces your mental focus.
Dress for Success
Make sure your test day wardrobe is comfortable.
Don’t wear anything that’s distracting or uncomfortable. One useful tip is dressing in layers.
You’ll adapt faster if the testing center room temperature is too hot or cold. Also, make sure to have everything you need to bring already packed up.
You won’t panic then about being late. Here’s a list of what to bring to the SAT if you don’t know already:
- Admission Ticket
- Photo ID
- Two #2 pencils (non-mechanical) and an eraser
- Watch (there will be a clock, but it’s easier if you can check the time on your wrist)
- Water and snacks
Always Guess When Necessary
There’s no wrong answer penalty, so put something down for every question.
Even if it’s a complete guess, there’s still a chance you’ll get it right and earn your point. If a particular question is eating up time, skip it, and move forward.
If there’s time left to still answer, then go back and make your guesses. Remember, not answering the remaining questions guarantees no points whatsoever. Take the chance because you’ll still earn some points.
Take Your Breaks
Use your breaks strategically.
Even if you don’t feel like using them, get up and make full use of that free time. Your brain will appreciate the fresh air outside of the testing room.
More importantly, eat your snacks and take bathroom breaks. Your body won’t feel uncomfortable and you’ll recharge energy for the next round.
Go Back And Check Answer
Use extra time left wisely.
Even if you feel good about your answers, go back and double-check them. It’s easy to make dumb mistakes or miss filling out the answer sheet correctly when rushing through questions.
Students who answer questions extra fast make silly mistakes that cost valuable points. Remember, even if you’re guessing, it’s ok. You aren’t penalized for incorrect answers via guessing.
Skip Questions When Necessary
Don’t spend a ton of time on particularly hard questions.
Have you already spent a full minute looking at a Math or Reading section question and can’t crack it? Skip it.
Have you spent more than 30 seconds looking at a Writing section question? Skip it and move forward. Save yourself time and then can circle back to the skipped questions.
If worst comes to worst, then simply guess. Don’t let hard questions prevent you from getting to easier questions you know how to answer fast.
Cite Evidence in Your Written Essay
Don’t forget to clearly cite evidence.
If you’re planning on taking the SAT essay, then you’ll analyze the passage author’s argument. Use direct evidence from the passage itself to support your own points and illustrate how valid your analysis is.
While reading the passage, underline sentences or phrases that you find useful in own your essay explaining how the author structured his or her argument.
Again, don’t stress and tap into these last minute SAT tips in the weeks before test day. Your brain and nerves will thank you afterward.
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