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7 Prep Tips for the Night Before the SAT


What you do the night before the SAT can be just as important to scoring well as what you do during the test itself.

Taking these 7 steps the night before the SAT will help ensure that you are calm, alert and ready to roll when test-taking time comes around.

1. Stop studying.

Sounds crazy, right? We’re totally serious though: many standardized test pros will tell you to put away the books the night before the SAT. Cramming in a few more vocabulary words at the last minute is not going to significantly help you prepare for the SAT.

More importantly, poring over the books at this point is only going to make you frazzled and stressed – which is exactly the mental state you want to ditch the night before the SAT.

2. Prepare your things.

The night before the SAT, get all your items for the next day packed and ready to go in order to minimize that hectic morning feeling. Make sure you have all your must-have SAT test items, including #2 pencils, a calculator and a photo ID.

Driving yourself to the test? Make sure your car keys are next to your bag.

3. Get some exercise.

Light exercise like a long walk or light run (nothing that will make you sore the next day) the day before the SAT is a great way to relieve stress and help you get to sleep that night. However, this is something you should do in the morning or afternoon of the day before the SAT, as studies have shown that working out too late in the day can keep you up at night.

4. Get your smart sleep.

Make sure you get enough sleep the night before the SAT! You need your brain to be alert for the exam. If you’re dragging due to lack of sleep, your brain might not be functioning at max capacity.

5. Set your alarm.

Make sure you won’t be rushed in the morning: set your alarm early enough so you have plenty of time to get ready, shower, eat and get to the test.

Another good pre-SAT trick for the morning: doing a light brainteaser (nothing frustrating) like a crossword puzzle or simply reading the newspaper can help jump-start your brain to “wake up” into critical thinking mode.

6. Plan on a good breakfast.

The SAT is a testing marathon, so you need all the energy you can get to make it through. Eating a big breakfast helps ensure that your body is energized – and that you won’t be distracted by hungry stomach growls while testing!

But don’t go overboard with a huge greasy breakfast, which can make you feel sluggish and overly full. The night before the SAT, decide what you’re going to eat the next morning. A cheap and easy meal that is filling yet healthy, like cereal plus fruit and yogurt, is a good choice.

7. Use tricks to nix stress quickly.

Avoiding stress is extremely helpful if you want to improve your SAT scores. It’s a good idea to figure out some anti-stress measures that work for you in advance, like taking deep breaths or thinking positive thoughts. On the day of my SAT, I went in wearing my mom’s watch and using the same #2 pencil my older sister had recently used on the LSAT (which she rocked).

When I got stressed or nervous, I had those little reminders of loved ones to calm me down and encourage me to go into the test with confidence.

Good luck to all you test takers out there, and I hope your night before the SAT is a restful one!



5 Responses to “7 Prep Tips for the Night Before the SAT”

  1. Fritz'o McLaughin Says:

    what did you get on your SAT? :)

  2. Alison at University Language Says:

    @ Fritz – I can’t remember exactly but I know that I managed to break 1300 (I took the SAT when it was marked on a 1600 point scale, before the writing portion had been added) which I was happy with! :)

  3. Stephanie Says:

    This article us dated. Standby testing has been eliminated.

  4. Amy at University Language Says:

    Stephanie,
    You’re right – as of October 2012, standby or walk-in testing is no longer permitted. Thanks for the update!

  5. Terra Says:

    Apparently now your SAT score doesn’t average on your third try anymore?

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