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The Best Top Ten Methods To Prepare For The SAT

Updated on September 24, 2016

Ten excellent strategies to help you raise your score.

Taking the SAT or any other important standardized test can be intimidating and nerve wracking. But to up your chances of getting a good score, forego the traditional late night cramming and rely on these ten strategies to ramp up your ability to do well.

Does last minute cramming really work?
Does last minute cramming really work?

01. Sleep

Get a good night's rest. This cannot be overemphasized. There are many reports about how sleeping can help you remember more, and many others that discuss how sleep positively effects testing scores as well. Students with a good nights sleep are more alert and are able to focus much clearer than their droopy eyed classmates.

02. Be on time

Be on time and bring proper identification: There is no reason to be an hour early unless you absolutely don’t know where the school is, where your room is, or even where the tests are given. Thirty minutes is plenty of time. Read any and all posted signs and report directly to your assigned room. Your identification must have a picture on it. Examples of acceptable identification are included online.

03. Bring proper materials

Bring pencils, erasers, sharpeners, a watch and the correct calculator. If your pencil breaks, you’ve got to have a back up. Why try to find a pencil sharpener that might be on the other side of the room, when you can just grab a backup. Plus, it’s distracting to others who are taking their test. Be sure to never bring mechanical pencils, as those machines have a difficult time reading bubbles with that type of lead. Be sure to bring the right calculator with extra batteries.

04. Know what is on the test

Know that the test is long, so familiarize yourself and be comfortable with all sections of the test and what is to be expected, Far too many students show up and have no clue there is an essay, or that the sections become progressively shorter. The SAT is made up of 10 sections which include a twenty-five minute essay, another six sections that last twenty-five minutes, two twenty minute sections and a final ten minute section. After every other section there is a short break, generally five minutes. After reading the instructions and collecting the books and answer sheets at the end of the test, total time is around five and one half hours.

05. Dress appropriately

Dress in layers. Be able to shed or apply clothing quickly. It does not matter if it is June and you think your new flip flops are fantastic, lose them. When the air conditioning is set at 55 degrees, those freezing toes will distract you from the test. On the other hand, if the air conditioning goes out, wear clothes that you can quickly remove. In January, what do you do when the heater is on full blast? Be prepared ahead of time and think if your long johns with a cardigan sweater is really a good idea. Layers of clothing is a good solution; a couple of T-shirts with a button down shirt, plus a jacket that can be put on and taken off as needed.

06. Cell phone policy

Leave your phone at home! It’s not allowed to be on during the test and if it goes off, your scores will be canceled! It’s best to just leave it at home. You cannot use your phone as a clock, a calculator and you are not allowed to listen to music, so just turn the darn thing off. If a proctor sees you with a phone even during the breaks, your scores will be invalidated. It's not worth it.

07. Snacks

Bring heathy snacks and water. Be sure to keep them under your desk and only use them during the prescribed break times. It is important to keep hydrated and to keep those hunger pains away. Trail mix and fruit are good options. You’re taking the SAT from 8:15 until about 1:15, so be prepared. Eat a proper breakfast so you can last with just a few healty snacks.

08. Restrooms

Figure out where the restrooms are before the test starts. Know the building and in what rooms testing will occur. Don’t waste time looking for the bathroom because the proctors will not wait for you before they begin the next section.

09. Bubble properly

Pace yourself, you’re in it for the long haul. When finished, make sure you have bubbled correctly, in the correct spot. Make your marks dark and neat. If you want to know if you should guess or not, check it out here and here.

10. Relax

Stressing out over your results will probably make your scores worse. Take a deep breath and try some relaxation techniques right before the test. Make your brain power your priority on test day. Everything else that causes you stress will simply be a distraction.

Studying all night just makes you a wreck.
Studying all night just makes you a wreck.

Although nothing prepares you more than hard work and good study habits, using these ten strategies will help you on test day. Putting them all together makes you less tense, less distracted and ready to for testing. You won’t be able to perform better while stressed, but if you are relaxed and prepared, you can focus better and raise your overall test scores.


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