Here are five tips for test day. Some of them seem obvious, but the list is compiled from real-world research and actual unfortunate test day experiences.
1. Relax — No studying allowed the Friday before the test. Your prep work is done... even if it is not, you can't cram for an SAT. It doesn't work. Do something fun and distracting — a good movie or bad TV fit the bill.
2. Get some sleep — This one is very true. Recent research studies have correlated score improvements with 8-plus hours of sleep the night before the SAT test.
3. Eat a real breakfast — This is the day to give your brain some quality fuel. A donut and soda don't count — your energy will crash by Section 3.
4. Don't forget ...
- SAT Admission Ticket — You can reprint from collegeboard.org.
- Photo ID — SAT really does require ID; your high school ID is fine
- Yes, bring several #2 pencils
- Calculator — Install new batteries to avoid possible mid-test disaster
- Snack — You will need to refuel. Think Power Bar not Snickers
- Cell Phones — Don't even consider touching your phone. It is viewed as cheating
5. Exam success strategies
- Use POE (Process of elimination). You can almost always rule out 2 of 5 choices. You can solve even the toughest questions by eliminating wrong answers. The remaining answer is right!
- Skip a hard question. The SAT subtracts points for wrong answers. If you have no idea... move on. Not answering a few of the hardest questions per section can actually improve your score.
- Control time. It is the one thing you control today. Invest it well. Each question has the same point value — do all the easy ones first — rack up a score. You can always go back to harder, time-consuming questions later.
BONUS TIP — This test is not all that important
WHAT?! It's true. No single SAT exam makes or breaks a college application. If you don't like this score you won't send it to colleges. Most students take the SAT two or three times. Remember, SAT scores are the #3 criteria for college admission. Grades and courses are more important to admissions committees. Really. Relax.