SAT Test Day Checklist: Do’s & Dont’s
The night before and the morning of your SAT exam can be a nerve-racking time. Your emotions and state of mind the day of your test can highly impact your SAT score. There is only one thing to remember the day of your SAT: be calm. Here is a checklist that will help you keep your composure.
- Do relax the week leading up to the SAT. Only do a light amount of 2400 Practice and don’t worry about studying every concept again. You will only stress yourself out.
- Do get a good night’s sleep.
- Do eat a wholesome dinner the night before and breakfast the morning of. Eat natural foods (i.e. fruits) and whole grains (i.e. oats) to give you sustained energy during the exam.
- Do stay as focused as possible during the exam.
- Do remain calm even if there are concepts you don’t recognize. The questions you aren’t familiar with will be in the minority, not the majority.
- Don’t worry about small SAT details that you haven’t gone over. Most of those details will not appear on the exam.
- Don’t worry that you might have forgotten a particular SAT rule. You will be able to recall the particular rule if you see a relevant question about it on the exam.
- Don’t take stimulants (i.e. caffeine). They will cause your heart to race during the exam.
- Don’t make the SAT a bigger deal than it is. Reassure yourself that you will simply take this test to see what you can get based on the preparation you have done, and that you can always take the test again if needed (as much as you don’t want to). Downplaying the test’s importance will work to your advantage.
My 2400 Test Day
I actually took the SAT three times in high school. The first two attempts were extremely nerve-racking. I didn’t relax the week before. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I didn’t eat a wholesome dinner the night before and breakfast the morning of. I didn’t stay as focused as possible during the exam. I didn’t remain calm when there were concepts I didn’t recognize. I did worry about small SAT details that I hadn’t gone over. I did worry that I might have forgotten a particular SAT rule. I did take stimulants – two energy drinks! I did make the SAT a bigger deal than it was. I ended up making my first couple of efforts at the SAT much more stressful than they needed to be.
But when I took the SAT the third time, I was completely calm. My relaxed and focused state of mind during the exam made all the difference. Funny story is that it was actually flooding the day of my exam, and when I got out of the car I stepped directly into a pool of ice-cold water. Because I was wearing canvas shoes, the water immediately soaked my feet. I ran quickly to the bathroom and threw away my socks so that I wouldn’t make funny, squeaky noises everywhere I went. Embarrassed to expose my bare feet during the exam, I took the entire SAT while my feet were freezing in my wet shoes. But through all of that, I remained calm.
So next time you think you’re having a bad SAT test morning, just remember that maybe you’ll score high anyway if you just keep your cool! I wish you the best on your test day and hope that this guide has assisted you with your SAT and college goals. And if you do decide to take the SAT with ice-cold feet, be sure to let me know how it goes. Maybe that’s the secret!
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