Is your schedule to take the SAT fast approaching? Maybe you’re a few days away from the test or even less than a day. If that’s the case, don’t panic! We’ve got you covered!
Your last minute preparation is important if you want to ace the SAT. So, today we will give away 17 proven last-minute SAT tips that will help you bring your A-game on the test day!
We’ll cover the things that you should do and remember before, during, and after the test. Ready? Let’s get to it.
The day/s before the test
1. Work on your weak spots
One of the best things to do days before the SAT is to focus on your weak spots. Since the test is fast approaching, this is the best time to double down on your mistakes.
If you took the full-length practice test, you’re likely to know where you’ve answered incorrectly. Then, determine why you got the answer wrong and understand the concept behind it. If you successfully identify your weak spots and work on them a day before the test, you’ll know how to approach similar problems on the actual exam.
The night before the test
2. Get a good amount of sleep
There’s a saying, “Everything you do, you’ll do better with a good night’s sleep.” This also applies to the SAT. Sleep plays a huge role in improving your memory and concentration level, both of which are important in taking the SAT. So, make sure that you get a good amount of sleep before the test day.
It is advisable that you go to bed early, but not too early than you usually do. Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep to allow your brain to fully function during the test. You might want to set up an alarm to wake up early.
You don’t want to feel rushed a few hours before the test, so wake up early enough that you have some time to prepare for the day ahead.
The morning of the test
3. Fill up your stomach
As you know, the SAT is a lengthy exam. You won’t be able to eat a full meal for the next 5 hours or so. That’s why it is ideal for you to eat breakfast before the test. You don’t want the burden of a growling stomach in the middle of the exam.
Don’t eat too much, however. Eating much more than what you need can cause you to feel drowsy and heavy. Try to eat food that is rich in protein, so you have enough energy during the test.
Also, it is recommended that you bring light snacks. You will be given short breaks in between sections. You can use that time to eat your snacks and fill up for the next set. Some of the recommended snacks are nuts and dried fruits.
4. Dress comfortably
Wear comfortable clothes during the test. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable with what you’re wearing while taking the exam. It is recommended that you layer up, so you’re prepared in case it gets too cold in the testing room.
You can also wear a wristwatch. There will be a clock in the testing room, but it is easier if you have your own watch. Just make sure that the alarm is off.
5. Don’t forget the essentials
Make sure you bring with you everything that you’ll need for the test. Here is a list of what to bring and what NOT to bring to the SAT test center:
What to bring:
- Admission ticket
- A valid photo ID
- No. 2 pencils with erasers
- An approved calculator (1)
- Drinks and snacks for the break
What NOT to bring:
- Mobile phones
- A camera
- A timer with alarm and sound
- Highlighters and pens
6. Be mindful of the test schedule
Get to your testing center early. Chances are, especially if it’s your first time taking the SAT, you might be confused about where to go and where to sign up. Therefore, it is best to give yourself some allowance and get to the testing site early enough.
You can expect the testing site to be a little crowded, so be early. Typically, it is recommended that you arrive at the testing site at 7:45. Double-check your admission ticket to know the exact start time for the test. If you’re using a car, allow some time to find a parking space too.
On the test day
7. Stay calm and be confident
You worked hard and prepared for this test, so there is nothing to worry about! Relax, stay calm, and be confident. When taking the test, put away negative and anxious thoughts. Believe in yourself and keep in mind that you will do well.
Taking deep breaths is a good way to reduce anxiety and nervousness. If you focus on your breathing, you can lower your blood pressure, and you’ll be much more at ease.
If some questions appear to be intimidating, just keep going. When you feel anxious because of a question, chances are, you’ll lose your focus.
8. Skip the hard ones
One of the best SAT test-taking strategies to remember is to not spend too much time lingering on a particular question. If a question appears to be difficult and is taking too much time, skip it and get back to it later.
By doing this, you will be able to answer more manageable questions. Also, you can go back to those questions later on. More often than not, you’ll realize that those questions are not that difficult after all. Sometimes, your brain just needs to refresh or to reset.
9. Use the process of elimination
One of the most common tips and tricks for the SAT that you’ll hear is the process of elimination. It is an effective strategy, and you should definitely use it in taking the admissions exam. When you cross out choices that are obviously incorrect, you’ll have a higher chance of getting the correct one.
When you have no idea how to get the answer to a specific question, eliminate those choices that are obviously incorrect. From the remaining choices, you can pick an answer.
10. It’s okay to guess
The SAT is not a right-minus-wrong type of test, so you’ll not get a deduction for a wrong answer. If you really can’t get an answer to a question, it’s okay to guess. Don’t leave any question blank. When you guess, there’s still a chance you’ll get the answer correctly.
11. Use breaks effectively
One of the last-minute SAT tips you should live by is to utilize your breaks effectively. Breaks are given for you to refresh, so use them efficiently. You will be given a 10-minute break and a 5-minute break. Use these wisely to restore energy. You can go to the restroom, eat a light snack, or even just walk around.
A little body movement will help in rejuvenation and refreshment, so take advantage of the breaks to restore some energy for the next section.
12. Take shortcuts
As mentioned, the SAT is a timed test, so shortcuts will be useful. This does not mean that you should rush each question. There are ways in which you can answer a particular question more quickly and efficiently.
Here are some shortcuts you can use in each section of the test:
In the reading section, you can save a lot of time by skimming the passages the moment you encounter them. If there are questions on particular lines of the passages, you can get back to it later. The important thing is you get the idea of the passage right away.
Most questions in the Writing section have a “NO CHANGE” option. If you appear to be choosing this option for too many questions, try to double-check.
Also, use the process of elimination for the writing section. Cross out choices that are obviously incorrect or do not make sense. If two choices are both grammatically correct, pick the one that is more concise and shorter.
For the calculator section of the SAT, make the most out of your calculator. If some questions deal with graphs, use the graphing function of your calculator.
You don’t have to do everything manually. That’s why a calculator is allowed during the test. However, there are processes more easily done using pen and paper, so be wise in using your calculator.
13. Double-check your answers
If you have extra time, check your answers! Double-check if you made some mistakes, so you can correct them. Also, make sure that you did not leave any question blank and that every bubble is shaded.
14. Don’t state your opinion on the Essay section
If you’re taking the Essay section, one of the important tips for taking the SAT is to never state your personal opinion on the passage or its topic. Your main task for this section is to analyze how the author presented the arguments.
Instead of sharing your own thoughts or opinion on the passage, try to look for the author’s assumptions and tone. Explain how the author came up with the main point or argument. Remember, being objective is key in the Essay section.
After the SAT
You’ve done it. You finished the SAT!
After taking the test, reward yourself by relaxing or doing something fun. You spent months on preparation and more than 3 hours to complete the test, and now you’re through with it. You’ve earned it!
Now that you’re done with the SAT, there are still things to remember and consider after taking the test.
15. You can cancel your score
It is important for you to be aware that you can cancel your score after the SAT. If you feel that you did really poorly or you are unsure of your answers, you can ask for a cancellation of your score (2).
Remember, however, that this feeling is pretty common among students after taking a test. Don’t make an impulsive decision on canceling your SAT score. Chances are, you did better than you think you did!
16. Considering a retake? Plan ahead.
Whether you really planned to take two or more SATs or you just think you did not do so well and want to get a higher score, you can always retake the SAT. If you’re doing that, it is better to plan ahead.
Things to consider in retaking the SAT are the college application deadlines and the test schedules (3). Unless you’re trying to beat a deadline for college applications, it is not necessary for you to take the next scheduled SAT right away. Give yourself at least a month to prepare for the next exam.
17. Don’t stress out
Now that you’re done with the SAT, don’t get too stressed. You can get the results back after 2-4 weeks. We understand that waiting for the results can cause you to overthink, but keep those negative thoughts away.
At this point, there is really nothing much you can do about it but wait for the results. Just relax and do activities that make you happy. There’s a high chance that you actually did better than what you expected.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know the last-minute tips on how to ace the SAT, use these test-taking strategies to perform better. Remember that the SAT is a standardized test. With the right strategies, you can outsmart it and get a high score.
Keep in mind, however, that the SAT is also not just about tips, strategies, and tactics. It is important for you to understand the concepts behind the topics covered in the test. Moreover, the topics will prove important once you get to college.