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5 Great SAT Tips: What to Expect on Test Day

1. Start preparing early

To get the most out of preparing for the SAT, you need to start early. In fact, many National Merit Scholars, who typically score above 2100 on the SAT, start preparing for the PSAT and SAT the summer before they become sophomores so they can make the most of the PSAT they have the option to to take that year. Don’t start wondering whether or not third-order polynomials will be included in the math section last week. Create a plan! If you need more structure or guidance, consider SAT prep classes, private tutoring, or an online course.

2. Dress well

Think about it: someone as flustered as you are likely to adjust the thermostat in the test center the morning of the exam. You don’t want to trust them with your comfort, and shivering while bubbling is a sure way to “leave a stray mark.” Avoid this by layering comfortable clothing so you can easily adjust to your surroundings.

3. Be punctual

The College Board isn’t happy when you’re late for an SAT. To them, being late means arriving after the doors of the testing rooms have closed, between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. In fact, their official policy states that students who arrive late will not be admitted to the testing center. assessment and will have to reschedule to take the test. Of course, there’s a $24 fee for that. It’s okay if you don’t want to reschedule, but the fee you paid to take the exam is non-refundable. That’s $47 wasted. How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Please report no later than 7:45 am, as recommended by the College Board. A few days before the test, map out a route to your test center and make sure you are familiar with it. If you’re particularly bad with directions, you might want to practice getting there, just think of it as another thing to study.

4. You are very sleepy…

Falling asleep during the SAT: fail. You could take a nap during one of the five-minute breaks you get, but we doubt it’ll do you any good. Instead, make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the SAT. Caffeine in the morning, whether it’s coffee or an energy drink, can be a good idea, but you should avoid it if you’re not used to it. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters and, ironically, difficulty concentrating.

5. Oops! I did it again…

If you mess up, don’t worry: in 2009, the College Board introduced Score Choice, which lets you select which test scores you want to send to a college on your score report. It is an optional service; if you don’t choose to use it, all of your scores will be included in your score reports. Although it allows you not to disclose low scores to schools when you apply, you should check your institution’s policy on reporting SAT scores; it is often helpful to report all of your scores.

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