SAT Prep: The Final Push
How to spend your last week before test day
You’ve been working hard for weeks, or maybe even months. You’ve put in your time, despite your demanding schedule of AP classes, shifts at the local fast-food joint, and grueling pre-season training. You feel you’re almost ready, but know that you owe it to yourself to make one final push.
Here’s how to make the best of your final week before Saturday’s test.
Saturday – 7 Days Left
Take one last full-length practice test. Start at 8AM just like you will next Saturday. Find a quiet place to work, and finish the whole test in one sitting. Be sure to take 3 five minute breaks.
Sunday – 6 Days Left
Use this day to review your test results from yesterday. Learn from every problem you answered incorrectly. Explanations for each question in the College Board’s Official Study Guide are available here.
Monday – 5 Days Left
Begin targeting your last, lingering weak areas. Use your practice test results to determine what those areas are, then drill on them as appropriate. If you’re weak on a particular question type (i.e. math grid-ins, sentence completions, etc.), drill on questions of that type from the practice tests in the Official Study Guide. If you’re weak in a particular content area (i.e. subject-verb agreement, quadratic equations, etc.), drill on those lessons from your workbooks.
On Monday, drill on your two weakest topics. Work first without a timer. Once you feel that you are making progress, set a timer and practice your pacing.
Tuesday – 4 Days Left
On Tuesday, drill on your next two weakest topics. First without a timer, then with.
Today is a good day to start flooding your body with nutrients and brain fuel. From personal experience and personal research, here are my top three recommendations.
Use these each day until the test is over.
Wednesday – 3 Days Left
Do three 25-minute practice sections: one for math, one for grammar, and one for reading. Use the Official Study Guide and review the answer explanations online.
Today is a good day to start managing stress levels. One of the best ways to do this is through meditation. The video below is a 10-minute guided meditation produced by UNH Health Services. It is intended to maximize performance on exams. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably in an upright position.
Thursday – 2 Days Left
Thursday is your last day of studying, so make it count. Pull out all the stops to make sure you are 100% confident going into test day. If pacing is your big hurdle, spend this day doing timed practice sections. If you’re still unsure about certain topics, go back and review them one by one. Leave no stone unturned.
Friday – 1 Day Left
Do not cram the night before the test. Cramming is for memorization, and the SAT does not require that. Use this night instead to rest your mind and body. Take your brain fuel and sit for another meditation.
Now may be a good time to review our Test Anxiety Tips. Don’t fret if you are feeling anxious; it is not only normal, but solvable.
Review the Test Day Checklist as well.
While you lay in bed on this final night before the test, make use of your mind’s potential for Creative Visualization. Imagine yourself sitting in the test room tomorrow. Then imagine that you are answering every question correctly and that you start brimming over with confidence as you ace the test. Keep running this scenario over and over in your head until you fall asleep. You’ll then be dreaming all night about acing the test.
Saturday – Test Day
The big day is here. In addition to double checking the Test Day Checklist, there are only two things you should do this morning.
First, eat a good breakfast. Eat something substantial that will keep you going through the morning (remember, you won’t get out of the test until 12:30 or 1). Bring snacks and water to the test.
Second, read something when you wake up. Don’t let the first thing you read that day be the test instructions. Kick start your brain first thing in the morning by reading a newspaper/online article.
Stay confident, stay focused, and know that you are 100% prepared to ace this test.