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You Registered for the SAT—Now What? 3 Things You Should Do Next

By taking a few simple steps before the SAT, you can set your mind at ease and increase your chances of success.

Tiffany Sorensen, Varsity Tutors' Contributor

February 02, 2016

You Registered for the SAT—Now What? 3 Things You Should Do Next
You just finished registering for the SAT—nice work! Rather than freaking out as you reflect on the importance of test day, gather your thoughts and just relax. By taking a few simple steps before the SAT, you can set your mind at ease and increase your chances of success. Here is how:

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1. Look over a few practice questions

In the precious time that remains before the SAT, invigorate your brain by taking a look at SAT practice questions. You should not, however, overwhelm yourself. Aim to get through a handful—that is, five or so—questions per day. You may prefer to focus on math one day and critical reading the next, or you may wish to mix it up each day. The choice is yours, but the key is not to overdo it. If you attempt to get through an unreasonable number of questions, you might get irritated and abandon your preparation altogether. Focus on the question types that appear most often on the SAT. When you look back on how many practice questions you have completed in just a week, you will be pleasantly surprised. Slow and steady wins the race!

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2. Gather the materials you will need

The College Board’s website outlines exactly which materials you should bring with you on test day.

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For starters, you will need your SAT admission ticket, which must be accessed and printed via your online My SAT account. In addition, you will need two No. 2 pencils, an eraser, photo identification, and a calculator. The College Board recommends that students use a graphing or scientific calculator, although four-function calculators are also permissible. There are strict guidelines that govern the photo ID policy, so make sure your ID complies with these rules. Taking small steps now can help make the days before the SAT a little less stressful. It is never too soon to check that you own the right kinds of pencils and calculator. If you do not, it is best to secure these materials now rather than running to the store the morning of the SAT. It would be a shame to find out at the test site that your materials cannot be used or that you cannot sit for the SAT because you lack the correct form of ID. Also, review the College Board’s list of acceptable but non-required items for test day, such as drinks and extra batteries.

3. Go to bed early

Rest is crucial for strong test performance. A student who is behind on sleep, regardless of how much he or she has studied, is likely to perform below full potential on the SAT. Although you may feel swamped between regular schoolwork and SAT prep, you must find adequate time for sleep in the days and weeks before your big day. It is often recommended that teenagers sleep nine hours each night, but some studies reveal that most teenagers only get around seven. Sleeping is as important as eating and breathing; one simply cannot survive without it. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not possible for students to just “catch up” on sleep over the weekend. Sleep patterns are established over weeks, and it can take several days to compensate for an unusually short night of sleep. Now, do yourself a favor and get some shuteye! Preparing for your upcoming SAT involves more than just studying. By reviewing practice questions, acquiring materials for test day, and sleeping well, you can make the SAT go a little more smoothly. With the clock ticking, each small action you take matters. Good luck!

Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

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