The 5 Most Unusual SAT Tips

1. Stretch your hands during the essay. You have 25 minutes to write the flipping thing, and you have to write for the heavy majority of those 25 minutes. Stretching your hand while the proctor blah blah blahs about something you already know from reading the manual yourself during the moments before the essay will decrease your chances of momentary and miniature carpel tunnel syndrome.

2. Give your eyes a rest, especially during critical reading. It’s bad enough that they’re open at 8 AM on a Saturday, much less staring at something academic. The SAT is four hours long and time sensitive. If you find yourself nodding off or your eyes going out of focus, take off glasses (if you wear them), stare out the window or at whatever is the most interesting thing in the room (other than another student’s test, of course) and return to work in 5 or 10 seconds.

3. Go nuts… For your snack, I mean. Nuts have incredible amounts of solid, caloric energy, don’t hurt your stomach, and don’t hype you up on sugary, saturated chemicals. In other words, they don’t make you feel trash for the rest of the exam. For those with nut allergies, consider dehydrated fruits that lack sulfites. (The point is, don’t eat junk food during the SAT).

4. Bring really cool pencils. Seriously. Yellow pencils with pink erasers blend into the background like everything else in the SAT environment. You’re trying to stay focused, but that requires staying awake. I always feel better with my own pencils, anyway. A cool pencil isn’t engaging enough to distract you, but will help you keep an active brain.

5. Sit in the front row. In case you didn’t know, most SATs take place in rooms that mirror a traditional high school setting. In fact, many of these rooms are actually in high schools. In school, maybe you like to sit in the back so you can sleep through art history, but here you want to stay awake and unencumbered. The front row has the most leg room. You may have no control over this variable, but if you do, take advantage of it.

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