Cramming For The SAT – A Quick Guide for Procrastinators
The Night Before
- Download a free practice test from Collegeboard. Look at the different sections and read the instructions. Try ten random (not the first ten) questions from each section. Make sure to check out the instruction for the grid-in math questions, as this can be confusing the first time you look at it.
- Make sure you go over the answers to the questions. This is when the actual learning happens. The Collegeboard has made the answers and explanations available, so use that resource to check yourself.
- Pack what you need. There is a list of items to bring on the Collegeboard website. Make sure you have snacks. Make sure you have a watch that makes no sound and has semi-new batteries. Put new batteries in your calculator.
- Go to bed early, and make sure you get plenty of quality sleep.
- Wake up with plenty of time to eat breakfast and set yourself up for a successful testing experience.
- Another Tip– Leave your phone in the car in the morning. Or better, at home. If you are caught with your phone, your scores may be thrown out, and it’s better to just not take that risk.
- Come up with a strategy for not making simple mistakes. This can trip up a lot of people. Remember, you can write all over the test booklet so use that to help you. Don’t try to solve problems in your head, as that can easily lead you to the wrong answer.
A Week Before
- Take a mock test at a testing center or through our school. These tests are most commonly held on Saturday mornings in an effort to best model the real testing environment.
- Go over the answers to all the questions you missed.
Two Weeks Before
- Take a mock test.
- Brush up on some strategies for the tests. You can take a strategies class with us through our test prep package, or you can use free online resources from Khan Academy.
- Ask questions. Find an SAT prep expert and see if you can sit down with them. Even if you can’t do a full prep course somewhere, just two hours of active question and answer time may help improve your score. Call us at NWLS if you’re looking for someone in the Woodinville area.
- Study some vocab. There are a plethora of word lists online guiding you in the right direction. Another good idea is to look up any words you didn’t know in the reading and English sections of your practice test.
- Take another mock test.
- Take as many mock tests as possible.
- Practice some no-calculator math. If you’ve been relying on your calculator for the majority of your high school experience, you have probably slowed in your ability to do math by hand. Since there is a whole SAT math section that doesn’t allow the calculator, make sure you practice similar questions to get your speed back.