Do the following for a week leading up to the big test so your body has time to adjust:
- Sleep at least 8 hours per night for at least a week. Use any means necessary to get to bed by 10:45 and wake up by 6:45. This will give you the rest you need. Also—the typical person’s
brain takes an hour and a half to kick in gear. This schedule will allow you that time.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. Your body is mostly water, and your brain has an
even higher water content—75%. A well-hydrated body and mind will work better and be
healthier. It will also reduce anxiety.
- Eat healthy, and on a regular schedule—especially breakfast!
- The explanations to the tests in your book are immediately after each test and many are on
https://www.youtube.com/c/IvyMastersLearningCenter/playlists Study explanations for the
problems you had incorrect before, but now know how to do.
- Study red pen notes and strategies associated with these problems. Make sure strategy and
notebook review is done ALONG WITH EXAMPLES.
- Work through the drills and examples on the strategy sheet. If there are any you do not know
how to do, we can go over them during the next lesson. Note—this is a time for review. If you are looking over a problem and it doesn’t make sense why the answer is what it is, put it aside. This is not a time for frustration. It is a time for you to review what you have learned and to feel good about how much better you are going to do.
- Take a full-length practice test the weekend before the big day. Mock tests are highly recommended. If
you cannot, simulate test conditions by doing the test Saturday or Sunday morning (at 7:45am), under
timed conditions, in one sitting. Use https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W69Q3M9thY&t=22s as a
- Listen to binaural beats on YouTube or another medium (which stimulates brain activity.) This music must be listened to through headphones.
- Set aside 15 minutes per day to visualize yourself performing well on test day—everything from waking up well rested to overcoming difficult problems during the test to returning to the car celebrating. Make this visualization as vivid as possible. In fact, each day, it should become more vivid. 95% of Olympic athletes visualize because it is needed to optimize performance. You can listen to your brain music while you do this. This will help you to relax and perform better on test day.
The day before the test:
- Your work is done. Today your job is to relax and get happy. Let all the information you’ve acquired
settle into your head.
- Today, read 45 minutes of fiction you enjoy. It will help you relax and consolidate your memories.
- Walk for at least an hour, listening to your brain music (described above).
- Carbo-load. Eat more than usual today. Eating tasty food will release positive brain chemicals. Just keep it healthy.
- Be sure to set aside your 15 minutes today to visualize yourself performing well on the test (as described above).
- If you feel like you need to study, do so 10 minutes here and there. Do not do new problems. Redo old
ones that you have gotten wrong, but now know how to do.
The night before the test:
- Set multiple alarms for your wake-up time—this will help you to sleep more soundly.
- Set aside 16 practice problems to do tomorrow morning, before you take your test. Make these problems ones you got wrong, but now know how to do.
- Look over your strategies, along with the associated examples.
- Put everything aside the night before—snacks (stay away from sugar), clothes (dress up a little, rather than dressing in pajamas or sweats. When you dress up, you sit straighter, are in a more serious frame of mind, and concentrate better.), headphones for your music (for before the test, not during), gum (Studies show focus increases when chewing.), tea (preferred) or water, and a plain digital watch that does not beep.
- Eat a big dinner with lots of carbs.
- If you are a nervous test-taker, to further relieve anxiety, check out this link:
- Do not look at any bright screens (without blue light glasses) or drink any water for two hours before bed.
- Take a cold shower. A study in France showed that it will help you fall asleep faster and sleep more
soundly. Make sure your room is pitch black and quiet.
The morning of your test:
- Wake up at 6:45 the latest.
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed, and then eat a big healthy breakfast.
- Only drink coffee if it is already part of your morning routine.
- Take a hot shower—you’ll feel fresh, less stressed, happier, and more alert. Besides, the guy next to you will thank you for it.
- Put on your dressy, comfy, layered clothes.
- Walk for 20 minutes with your brain music (described above) to help you relax, digest, and get your blood flowing.
- Work through your 16 problems. This will reduce stress.
- Bring your snacks.
Once you get to the test:
- Put your phone on silent. Make sure you have no alarms scheduled. Put it on “Do Not Disturb.” Set it to “airplane mode.”
- Ask to change your seat if you don’t like it.
- Don’t talk to your friends. Instead, listen to your brain music (described above).
- Sit tall—good posture will help you think and will increase your confidence. Keep in mind—a little nervousness is fine! It will keep you focused!
- Before the test starts, shut your phone off.
- Write in your test booklet—cross out answer choices you know are wrong.
- If time is an issue, don’t worry about getting to the last math multiple choice problems on each
section—these are among the most difficult ones to get correct, and you still have a 1 in 4 chance to get each correct if you guess. The last open ended questions are also among the most difficult, and are also the toughest to guess correctly. Still, make an educated guess for both these types of problems. (Eliminate answers that are too big or too small for the multiple choice questions. If the figure is drawn to scale, trust it.)
- Make sure you answer every question.
- Stretch and walk around during every break. Pee, eat, and drink at halftime.
- Chew your gum during the hardest section.
- NOTE—Expect a section 5 on your test
If we do not move forward, you can find additional practice at https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
If you liked this instruction, please tell your friends, guidance counselor, and math and English teachers.
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