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Preparing For The SAT: What To Do Before Testing

Updated on March 5, 2016

Mark Your Calendar!

Once you know the test date, put it right in your calendar. Don't be like me and realize your test day is in 3 days after the College Board emails you. Be prepared and ready in advance, it's a big day! You want to make sure you have time to prepare for the test that pretty much determines where you head after high school (no pressure).

Preparing Yourself

Of course, the most important part of getting ready for the SAT is to practice.

Khan Academy is in a partnership with College Board and they now provide a free practice test. If you've taken the PSAT, it will scan your scores and help you on the things in which you need to improve. There's plenty of other practice tests online too, but the Khan Academy one is probably best because it provides you with practice for the new SAT that started being administered this month (March 2016).

Here is the link:

Another way I got practice was through my school. If your school has opportunities for study groups or SAT practice sessions like mine, definitely take advantage.

Also, investing in some flash cards really does help. The SAT has some extensive vocabulary and it's hard when the test asks you what a word means from the passage, and you haven't a clue. Practice a few a night- it will pay off.

Plus, (very important) brush up on your geometry and algebra 1 skills! The SAT loves to pull out old stuff you learned your freshman or sophomore year that should be easy, but isn't. It's really hard when you're in an upperclassmen math class and that's all the material you can focus on.

What You Should/Shouldn't Bring

Here is what you should definitely bring on your test day:

1. Snacks!!! You will get very hungry if you don't and it's not fun when it's dead quiet and your stomach wont stop growling.

2. Water

3. Your test ticket. It's required so, it's definitely a must. Don't forget to print it out before you leave!

4. An approved calculator. You can look on the College Board website to ensure yours is okay.

5. A photo ID. Along with your ticket, they'll need either your license or your school card. They reeeally wanna make sure you're you.

6. Pencils and backup pencils. Must be #2.

7. Gum. It helps me focus and is nice to have.

7. A bag or backpack to keep all of the above in.

What to leave in your car or at home:

1. Your cell phone. You can't use it during the test or during breaks so there really is no point. If you do bring it, they'll take it for the entire time.

2. Any other electronics or anything that could make noise. That includes most watches.

3. Books, magazines, dictionaries, etc. While you might want something to do during breaks or before/after the test, you're not supposed to have any English literature in front of your eyes.

4. Pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils, mechanical pencils. Basically anything that isn't a #2 pencil cannot be used.

5. Any rulers, compasses, protractors, or anything mathematical other than a calculator.

More info on the College Board website:


The Day Before and Morning Of

The night before test day, pack your bag for the morning and make sure you have everything. You probably should go to bed early to get a good sleep. Set your alarm because usually the test will be early!

When you wake up, double check to make sure your test location isn't closed or cancelled before you leave. Have a big breakfast and breathe! The SAT can be stressful, but if you're well prepared, you shouldn't have a problem.

Good luck!

Have you used the SAT practice on Khan Academy?

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