What Can Go Wrong on a SAT Test Day and How to Fix Them?
A good start is half the battle won, goes an old saying. It is by far the best way to go about any competitive tests. If the test happens to be a SAT, then all the more!
The SAT is now a 3.50 hours assessment with 5 sections – reading, writing, math (with and without the calculator) and an optional essay. Needless to say, it tests you in every possible way. First, there is the time factor to battle and then the ordeal of acing the sections. The very thought of anything going amiss can send jitters down the spine. Not a situation to be in, right?! Yes, I thought so too.
So how should you go about the SAT test day?
I believe any test is not a one-day ordeal. It really is the grand finale of so many days of hard work that leads up to the test. The key to having a smooth SAT test day is to build in elements during the test prep that will help you relax on the D-Day. A relaxed yet focused mind can do wonders. I am sure you would want this combination to work for you too.
Let’s look at what can go awry on the SAT test and more importantly, how to fix it.
Too Much Preparation
Is there a definite measure of the amount of preparation you need for the SAT? Not really.
Many times the preparation stretches even into the last few hours before the SAT. All this last min reading adds to lots of anxiety. It starts working on your mind. Doubts start creeping into your head about the ability to perform. So what to do? Is there a way to decide, when to stop preparing? Yes.
Stop all kinds of preparation for the SAT a couple of days before the D-Day. You are the best judge to decide what ‘a couple of days’ mean for you. It could be a week or even 2 days. Definitely, do not prepare for the SAT the day before and on the day of the exam. You need time to unwind, relax and get into your best form. A break in prep will do just that.
This may sound simple, but having a hungry tummy while giving an exam only adds up to all the anxiety. There are cases of students who fatigue out, faint or even vomit when taking a test. The test itself induces a certain amount of nervousness. If you add a hungry tummy to that equation, then may god bless you!
It is important to eat and eat right. It is also important to eat the day before and on the day of the test. Eat healthy light and easy to digest food before the SAT and the on the day. This keeps you nourished and energised for the test. No hunger pangs mean a focused mind.
Scattered Mind and Scary Thoughts
Did you notice how self-doubt, worry, concern and fear slowly crawl into your head? Even the best of the preparation sometimes can go bad with these unfriendly thoughts. How best to avoid or better still drop all these thoughts?
One age-old solution to any worrisome head is a good night’s sleep. There is nothing like an 8-hour undisturbed peaceful slumber. The day before your SAT make it a point to sleep. You can even relax to the tunes of some nice music before you sleep. Just make sure the music is sleep friendly.
Another way to beat a scattered mind on the day of the SAT is to take the time to breathe. Keep a few minutes to yourself, close your eyes and breathe deeply. This will do wonders in getting your mind back on the track.
S***, I forgot the Calculator
I am being polite here. But you know how you will swear if you find that your exam kit is without the calculator or an eraser or a pencil or worse still, your admission ticket. Even if you are superman, you cannot get in to give the exam you prepared for so many days.
A day or two before the SAT, get all your exam materials together. Pack them all in a small easy to carry pouch, so it’s easy to carry them all to your exam centre. Things you should definitely put together are the SAT examination ticket, a photo ID, a couple of pencils nicely sharpened, a sharpener (just in case), an eraser, a calculator, a watch (preferably digital), a bottle of water and a light snack (well packed and a non-messy one to eat).
Oh God, I am Late!
The SAT is a timed test. Each minute is precious. Arriving late on the exam day will rob you of all those precious minutes to perform well. It will also add too much pressure.
Start early, avoid last minute rush and reach the venue well before time. It helps you relax; get into the mood for the exam.
You have put in so many days and nights into your exam prep. You deserve to put your best foot forward. Taking care of these aspects will help you deliver your best on the SAT day. Good Luck!