For your test prep pleasure: 10 last-minute test tips that involve absolutely *no* studying. They’re designed to benefit the two most common types of students — those who have already studied their posteriors off (take a look, is yours still there?) and those who, well, haven’t.
Step 10. Give Your Brain a Break
Sick of studying for the SAT? Or, on the other hand, maybe you’re feeling totally unprepared. Either way, this test just isn’t something you can master in one night. So don’t wear your brain cells out trying. Hang out with a buddy, go for a run, watch a goofy movie. Be kind your mind, and it will be kind to you.
Step 9. Snooze Until You’re Satisfied
You might already be planning to hit the hay (or, more likely, the mattress) at a reasonable hour on Friday night. But learning coaches recommend going to bed earlyish on Thursday, too. No burning the midnight oil. No cramming to find out where midnight oil is produced, or charting its economic and environmental viability in comparison to ten other types of fuel. No, really.
Step 8. Think Through Your Pre-Test Morning
Prevent unnecessary test-day drama by planning ahead. You don’t have to obsess – just nail the essential details. Like:
- What time does the test begin?
- Where is the testing center?
- How will you get there?
- What time will you leave home? Add half an hour to your estimated travel time in case of unexpected delays.
- Is someone giving you a ride? If so, make sure they are on board for this trip, and know when you need to leave.
Step 7. Plan Your Wake-Up Call
Getting plenty of sleep is good. Getting it while the test is actually taking place – not so good. Set your alarm for a time that allows you to get dressed and eat breakfast without rushing. Set a back-up alarm as well, just in case. And finally, have someone else in your house set their alarm, too. Who knows why standardized tests start at such uncivilized hours… But c’est la vie – that’s the way it is. On the upside, you’ll be out of there by early afternoon – nap time!
Step 6. Avoid Nakedness
Set out your clothes the night before. Think comfortable. Think non-distracting–at least to you. Think superstitious, if that’s how you roll. Officially, you’re allowed to tuck a lucky rabbit’s foot or some similar small item into your pocket (Your brother’s foot – probably not).
Step 5. Pack These Before You Go To Bed
Just like nightclubs, standardized tests are guarded by super-authoritarian humans who will definitely insist on checking your ID and admission ticket. If you don’t have the right stuff, you won’t get in. End of story. Prevent test-day snafus by printing out your ticket and packing up all essentials the night before. You will absolutely need:
- An acceptable photo ID
- Your SAT admission ticket
- Two sharpened No. 2 pencils
- A calculator with fresh batteries
You may also want to bring:
- Water and snacks for quick energy during breaks
- A book to read while you’re waiting for the test to start. That way, your brain is warmed up and you’re in reading mode right from the get-go.
Step 4. But Don’t Pack These, Please
Any electronic device, including phones, tablets, cameras, computers, music players, and recording devices. Also, anything that even resembles any of the aforementioned items. It might help to pretend that you’ll arrive at the test in a covered wagon, wearing a calico shirt, and looking forward to square dance season.
Step 3. Breakfast on Brain Food
We’re not saying breakfast is the most important meal, because that would be annoying. But for maximum endurance – as you’re no doubt aware, the SAT lasts almost four hours – you’ll want to consume something with more staying power than a bowl of Froot Loops or a Cinnabon. Can’t go wrong with protein, you know. If you’re a fan of coffee or tea, pour yourself the same amount you usually do. If you don’t already drink caffeine, today is not the day to start.
Step 2. Turn Demons into Angels
In terms of body chemistry, being nervous and being excited are pretty much identical states. Try telling yourself how “excited” you are, reinforcing the idea of upbeat anticipation rather than OMG dread.
Step 1. Put Test Stress in Perspective
The SAT is not — like, so not — the defining event of your life. Two years from now, you won’t care how you scored. In ten years, you might even not remember how you did. And a hundred years down the road? By then, people will have smarty-pants chips implanted in their brains at birth and only a handful of very learned, very wrinkled historians will ever have heard of that legendary rite of passage known as the SAT. So there.
Now go forth, and do good.