The SAT is tomorrow, January 26th. If you want to improve your score by 100+ points in the next 24 hours, you can – but not by cramming. Memorizing a few extra vocab words or a few random math facts won’t make a difference – the SAT tests your long-term memory and skill set, and cramming just won’t do. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to enhance your mental performance that’ll lead to at least 100+ extra points on your test. I use these tricks (and many more) with all my students, and the results are incredible.
1. Wake up at least 2 hours before your test starts. It takes at least 90 minutes for the human brain to “boot up” – to switch out of the brainwaves that characterize sleep. If you wake up at 8am and your test is at 9am… you’ll still be pseudo-asleep when you start. Make sure to wake up early (which means you should be going to bed earlier tonight to make up for the extra hour of sleep you’ll miss in the morning).
2. Bring practice questions with you to work on before the test starts. Tear a page of Math, Writing, and Critical Reading out of your SAT practice book (that you’ve already completed) and bring them to the testing center with you. When you show up, re-solve all these problems. You want to use problems you’ve already solved because you don’t want to stress yourself out – you just want to switch your brain into the SAT mindset. Most of my students used to do their worst on their first section of Math and Critical Reading because they hadn’t “gone into SAT gear” yet. If you spend 10 minutes solving a few practice problems from each section, your brain will be “warmed up” and you’ll get a much better score. Just be sure to conspicuously throw these practice problems away before you enter the actual testing room to avoid any cheating accusations.
3. Don’t talk to your friends before the test starts. Avoid them like the plague. Bring headphones and listen to relaxing music, and imagine yourself crushing the test with your eyes closed. Your friends will either be of the “oh my god I’m so nervous” or the “man I’m so well prepared” variety, both of which will stress you out. Sit down in a corner, listen to music (during and after you’ve finished your practice problems) and don’t talk to your friends.
4. Eat breakfast IMMEDIATELY upon waking up. As in, roll out of bed and eat breakfast. Have your parents bring you breakfast in bed if possible. You don’t want to be digesting food when you take your SAT, but if you take it on an empty stomach… bad idea. Eat a big, healthy breakfast right after you wake up to kickstart your brain, fuel your body, and give you time to digest. Mix in a ton of protein and complex carbs and avoid sugars at all costs. Eggs, peanut butter, whole wheat toast, milk, some cheese, some ham/bacon/sausage, or an omelet will all do quite well. Do NOT eat sugary breakfast cereals, bagels, or drink juice – all of these will cause you to crash and make your performance suffer.
5. Take a brisk walk immediately after breakfast. You’ll be sitting for hours on end – you need to get your blood pumping. As soon as you’re done with breakfast, go on a quick 15-minute walk. I’ve seen this make a consistent 30-50 point difference in my students’ scores.
GOOD LUCK TOMORROW! If you’ve been following a disciplined study program, you’re gonna do great! Have fun in there, and know that I’ll be rooting for you.
P.S. If you’re not taking the SAT tomorrow, I highly recommend you check out my self-study SAT program, which includes tons of additional tips just like this to further hone your mind on test day, and which is guaranteed to improve your SAT score by hundreds of points without tutors or classes. If you have less than 60 days until your upcoming SAT, check out my short-term study program, The 30-Day SAT Crash Course.
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