The big day is just around the corner. You have studied, practiced, timed, tested, bubbled, agonized, thought deeply, and flat out hustled to prepare so far. Now, you have to push yourself through to the final day, where you can finally execute and vanquish the test. How do you make it through the home stretch?
1. Stick with your schedule
Just because it is the last week doesn’t mean your schedule should go out the window. If you have been following along with a schedule you made months ago, stick with it – it’s gotten you this far, right? And if you have not, that’s okay too – maintain a reasonable pace. What you should not do is try to cram material in and overwork yourself. Studies have shown that cramming does not provide a significant benefit, especially on a test that is more aptitude-based such as an SAT, ACT, or PSAT. Trying to cram will only increase your stress levels, making it harder for you to focus on making the best choices based on what you already know.
Yes, it’s the last week, and you need to study. But don’t neglect your friends and family. Spend time with them efficiently, during meals or other pre-scheduled study breaks. Connecting with the people that care about you will help you feel supported as well as give you perspective on the test. It may not seem possible, but yes, there is life after the SAT!
3. Maximize your study time
If you’re getting 800s on all the math sections, but 400s on the verbal ones, this is the time to tailor your studying to your weak areas. Don’t ignore your strengths altogether, but make an effort to really understand why you are missing the questions in your weaker sections. If there are fundamental concepts you have not grasped, go back and try to understand that one principle and do as many practice problems in that area as you can.
4. Take a step back
Make sure to get outside, exercise, and be active. Studies show that aerobic exercise can help stimulate thinking and improves focus and concentration. Go for a quick 20 minute jog, go cycling or swimming, or whatever activity you enjoy. Better yet, find some friends and share the experience. If those friends are taking the exam too, even better. It helps to know that you’re not alone in the journey.
5. Twas the night before…
Okay, so test day is not Christmas, but you can expect the “present” of at least being done with the exam. But, like the holiday, the naughty kids will get a lump of coal on test day if they stay up late. Stick to your regular schedule, get to bed early, get a full night’s rest, and get to the test center early. All these steps are key to making sure that your stress levels are low. Poor sleep or being late to the test are unnecessary distractions that can only hinder your performance. Good luck!