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What is a Good SAT Score? Is Yours Good Enough?
December 14, 2018

Taking the SAT: Your Ultimate Guide for the Big Day

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Acing the SAT requires months and months of preparation. The truth is, nothing will ever beat getting ready for the test as early as you possibly can. Now that you’ve (hopefully) put in the hard work of reviewing your materials and building a test-taking strategy well in advance, you might be thinking, “What else can I do to secure the best possible results?”

Hear this: preparing for the SAT doesn’t stop the moment you completed the last exercise on your review. Knowing what to expect on the big day—as well as the best last-minute preparation strategies—can greatly impact how you’ll fare on the test. And this, dear students and parents, is exactly why this ultimate guide was created. Read on to find out more!

What else can I do to secure the best possible results?

 

THINGS TO DO BEFORE TEST DAY

Now that the SAT is coming in just a few more days, you should definitely take advantage of this time to ensure that everything will be smooth sailing when the big day arrives.

How to build confidence for the SAT

Now that the SAT is coming in just a few more days, you should definitely take advantage of this time to ensure that everything will be smooth sailing when the big day arrives.

    • Avoid procrastinating. At this point, you’ve already powered through months of intense studying. Allow yourself to completely relax the day before the test. Spending an hour or two reviewing for weak spots or going over tricky concepts is fine, but be careful not to overdo it.
    • Get a good night’s sleep. Trust us, you want to be as well-rested as possible before the test. Getting adequate sleep improves cognitive function and enhances mental clarity. Besides, the added anxiety that comes with not getting enough shuteye is the last thing you need.
    • Regulate your sleep schedule ASAP. This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Make it easier for yourself to secure Zzz’s by optimizing your body clock to fall asleep right on time.
    • Play it safe with nutritious-yet-familiar food. You don’t want to be caught with a bad stomach during the SAT. With that said, we recommend that you stick to healthy food that you’re sure your body agrees with.

Helpful tips before the test day

If you don’t know already, figure out beforehand how long will it take to travel from your home to the testing center.

If you’re taking the SAT in an unfamiliar place, you might want to visit the center before the big day arrives. At the very least, do your research about the location and try to look at maps for easier navigation.

Prepare your things the day prior

This should be a no-brainer, but a lot of students are guilty of waiting ‘til the last minute to pack their stuff. Make sure that your things are prepared and packed at least the night before. Use our checklist to know what to bring (and what NOT to bring) to the test.

CHECKLIST: WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR EXAM DAY

The following aren’t required, but are nice to have with you just in case.

        • A watch (Make sure that it doesn’t have alarms)
        • A water bottle
        • A sharpener
        • Extra batteries for your calculator
        • An appropriate snack

CHECKLIST: WHAT NOT TO BRING ON YOUR EXAM DAY

        • Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops
        • Earphones and audio players
        • Pagers
        • Camera
        • Smart watch

Plan out the best outfit for taking the SAT

This is one of the most overlooked tips regarding SAT preparation. Beyond simply dressing comfortably, you also have to dress smart! We recommend that you dress in layers so you can adapt easily to all sorts of conditions and temperatures. Put a light shirt on as a base, and then have a jacket or a sweatshirt handy to combat freezing temperatures.

We understand that dressing nicely is an effective confidence boost for many people. Just make sure that it won’t interfere with your test-taking. Avoid wearing too many wrist accessories that might make it harder for you to write. At the very least, ensure that your accessories aren’t making any sort of noise to avoid distracting your seatmates.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT ON SAT DAY

Now that you have the noted the aforementioned tips, it’s time for you to know what to expect during the big day. Knowing the schedule will help you plan ahead—whether it’s for planning what snacks to bring, how early to leave for the test center, and every other thing in between.

Be at the door by 7:45 a.m.

The test center’s doors will open at 7:45 in the morning. Try to be there even before 7:45 because doors close at exactly 8 a.m. (unless otherwise noted on your admission ticket). You won’t be allowed to take the test once it has started, so tardiness isn’t an option. You will be forced to reschedule if you don’t make it on time.

Helpful tips during arrival

        • Have your admission ticket and photo ID on hand for easy access. That way, you can avoid fumbling around or rummaging through your things once asked for the said documents.

The test proper starts between 8:30 to 9 a.m.

Once you’re inside, wait for your assigned seat to be announced. Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose where you want to sit, so you have to be prepared to adapt to wherever you’ll get designated.
The test coordinator will read the instructions aloud from a manual prior to starting each section. They will also tell you when you can begin each section, as well as when you should stop. You’re allowed to work ONLY within the designated test section for a particular time period. You may not go back to a previous section or go ahead with the next one without the coordinator’s consent.

Helpful tips during the test

        • Make sure to follow the coordinator’s instructions. Don’t try to start answering before the signal to begin is given. Just the same, don’t attempt to sneak in more answers after you had been told to stop.
        • Do not skip sections. It’s just never beneficial to do so, as it can result in delays or even score cancellation.
        • Don’t compare your pace to the student sitting next to you. If you see them already chilling while you’re only halfway through, there’s no need to feel pressured. It’s possible that the structure of your test booklets isn’t the same.

There will be two breaks

This isn’t definitive, but students are usually given two breaks throughout the test—one for five minutes, and the other one for 10.

More helpful SAT tips!

        • Use your breaks wisely. Take this opportunity to re-hydrate and eat—even if you don’t feel like you need to. You don’t want hunger or thirst to catch up to you while you’re in the middle of a difficult section.
        • Don’t use your phones and other electronic devices even during the break as this will result to score cancellation.
        • Don’t forget to take your ID and admission ticket with you if you’re planning to go to the bathroom. They’ll be checked again once you re-enter the testing room.

The test ends between 12 and 1 p.m.

If you’re taking the SAT without an essay, you’ll be done by noontime. But if you’re doing the essay, you’ll likely finish by 1 p.m.
Once the test is finished, the coordinator will systematically collect the test booklets and check if all relevant documents have been turned in. You won’t be dismissed from the testing room until everything has been verified to be in order, so don’t stand up to leave until you’re instructed to do so.

Helpful tips!

        • You can decide to remove or add the essay part on test day, provided that test materials, staff, and rooms are available. Simply approach the coordinator to know if your request can be accommodated. With that said, make sure to bring extra cash to cover additional fees if you’re switching to the SAT version that has an essay.
        • If you’re not doing the essay part, avoid making unnecessary noise. Respect the students who are still in testing mode. Carefully gather your belongings and walk your way out of the room quietly.

OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

The information we’ve outlined above should greatly help you conquer the big day. But hey, you can never be too prepared for the SAT, right? With that said, take the time to read the following helpful reminders:

    • Make sure to turn off all your electronic devices or put them on silent mode. If your smartphone, tablet, or wristwatch makes noise, you risk getting dismissed immediately or getting your scores canceled. We strongly urge you to not take any risks. Leave unnecessary devices in your locker and turn them off completely if possible.
    • The test coordinator can answer questions only about the procedure, and not about the questions or test content. Avoid asking questions about the latter to avoid wasting your time.
    • Don’t discuss the test with your friends. Also, avoid posting anything about the SAT’s content or coverage online. Both are prohibited by College Board, and being caught guilty can get your scores canceled.
There you have it—your ultimate guide on SAT Day. If you need further assistance with the SAT, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact us today to know more about how you can ace this test and successfully take a step closer to your dreams.