Maybe you waited till the last minute to begin prepping for the SAT, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel defeated. We have a simple, 3-week plan that could have you on your way to a solid score. Feeling adventurous? Beef it up and really hit the books!
Before You Start Anything:
- You’re registered for the test, right? If not, then you may want to start there.
- Have you purchased a study/test prep book, CD, or classes?
- Find at least three friends (or make new friends) that have already taken the test or are going to be taking the test, too.
- Make or purchase vocabulary flash cards. Sounds silly, but you’ll be happy you did!
- Make yourself learn 5 to 10 new words each day!
- Take a full practice test.
- Try to gauge where your comfort level is with test-taking and the format of the questions. This will give you a good idea where you’re at and what you’ll need to focus on in the next few weeks.
- Get one of those friends (mentioned above) to help you study flash cards, time questions, etc. Also, discuss your nervousness or any anxieties you might have. Sometimes just talking about them out loud can immediately diffuse them.
- Schedule personal study sessions for the next several weeks. Writing them down on your calendar (or iPhone) will make it more likely that you’ll follow through.
- Are you keeping up with your vocabulary flash cards?
- Map out the test areas that you need to improve the most. Break them down to 1 to 4 sections and devote most of your focus to those areas. Don’t forget about the areas that you’re confident with, because when push comes to shove, you don’t want to break under pressure over questions you should be able to depend on being easy.
- Take another practice test, but this time really focus on your answering pace. This will be key during the actual test. Try to identify how you approach questions and seek new ways to be more efficient, particularly with questions that are going to cause you to stumble.
- Organize all of the flash cards that you studied and have someone quiz you on them. If you don’t remember the words under fire, then they will be no good to you on the test.
- Take one final practice test and focus on both timing and accuracy of your responses. This is your chance to try and mimic what you might experience during the actual SAT.
- Get good sleep all week and eat well.
- Try to avoid cramming, as it will only cause you to stress and you will most likely not retain the information. Be comfortable with what you studied, and de-stress.
- Don’t make any adventurous plans, but try to do something enjoyable. Better yet, invite a friend that is also taking the test. You won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything, and you’ll both keep each other cool, calm, and collected.
- Eat a healthy dinner.
- Get to bed as early as you can.
Morning of the SAT:
- Get up early enough to allow time to “wake up” and enjoy a healthy, filling breakfast.
- Don’t wake up incredibly early because it will only cause you to become alarmed, and you’ll be unnecessarily tired.
- Avoid last-minute cramming. You’ll most likely forget what you just read, and the stress will begin to block other information.
- If you feel studying will help keep you calm and distracted, then pick something you’re comfortable with, such as flash cards, confident subject areas, etc. This is not the time to attempt to learn something new.