Some of you are taking the SAT for the first time just to see how you do. Some of you are taking the SAT in a last-ditch effort to get the score you want before turning in your college application this December. Many of you are taking the SAT for the second or third time after realizing that you are going to need some test prep to get you where you want to go. For those of you that have been putting in the prep time, here is some sage-like advice from elite-level runners that you can use for test day:
Trust your training
This is a big one. Maybe you went through one of Revolution Prep’s six-week classes. Maybe you have been working with a tutor throughout the summer. During this time, you have learned strategies that will help you conquer the test. Many test takers (and athletes) get so nervous, that they don’t trust their training, and end up flailing about trying whatever they can to get through the test. The strategies we give you really do work. Really. For example, ISME is a great math strategy so you are never in a position where you are asking yourself, “Where the heck do I even begin?”
Pack the night before
Runners lay out their clothes, gear, and snacks the night before the race so they don’t forget anything important. You should do the same thing! Collect everything you will need for test day: Several #2, sharpened pencils, a calculator, an extra eraser, test center ticket, a valid ID, snacks, and a water bottle. Go ahead and plan what you are going to wear, and take the pro’s advice: NEVER wear something new on test day. An itchy tag is kinda bothersome for the first hour, really annoying the second hour, and a total distraction the third hour. Don’t forget to bring a jacket or wear layers.
Runners need to fuel up before a race, and you need to before an exam. Your brain needs to be running on all cylinders throughout the four-hour test. Low blood sugar can make a 200 point difference on the SAT. Additionally, make sure you don’t eat anything you haven’t eaten before, and be smart about what you eat. If you eat a Snicker’s bar and drink a Monster, what do you think will happen an hour-and-a-half into the exam? If you said “crash” you are right, and it shows on score reports. Instead, try something with protein and carbs to keep you going.
Review the course map
Okay, you’re not running a race where you need to gauge terrain, but you do need to know where the test center is if you are not taking the test at your high school. Leave with plenty of time in case you get lost.
Keep to your routine
Along the same lines of “trust your training” is keep to your routine. Our six-week class has you do FIVE practice exams. These exams serve the same purpose as a marathoner’s long-runs. You need to practice getting up Saturday morning and making it through a 4-hour exam. At this point you have probably developed a test-day routine. Don’t use test day to try something new! Keep to your routine.
You can do this. You have prepared well.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
— General Colin Powell