Cramming for the SAT is like Cramming Glue in Your Mouth

The SAT is less than four weeks away.  Commence hyperventilation.

Take a huge, deep breath, and then exhale as quickly as possible. Then, repeat the process until you feel lightheaded and fall over. Then, you’ll hit your head and form a blood clot in your brain.  Then, you’ll miraculously transform into a megasavant, like the Rain Man.  Then, you’ll get a 10,000 on your SAT.  Then you’ll die.  And then, in a few years, a Jonas brother will win an Oscar for starring in a movie about your life.

Actually, that’s probably not going to happen, so, you know, don’t do that.  And don’t cram either. Sometimes we treat c-r-a-m as a four-letter word, but we know it’s going to happen: you’re in the home stretch and it’s time to kick it up a gear. Pound a gallon of coffee, pull all-week-longers, memorize vocabulary words like there’s no tomorrow, do practice problems over and over and over til your fingers bleed and you only speak in mono-character bursts of “A! D! C! B!”

Actually, on third thought, that’s almost worse than the first thought, so don’t do that either. I can’t count the number of times students have come to our tutorials on the Friday night and requested that I help them raise their critical reading scores hundreds of points in two hours. Drives me nuts. Instead of trying to memorize hundreds of vocabulary words and drilling critical reading passages in hopes of suddenly increasing your score (or requesting a teacher make you smart with some sort of secret SAT juju magic that takes only two hours), take care of the last minute killers that stand between you, the well-practiced SAT beast ready to destroy the test, and your score, the ticket to opportunity. Get a good night’s sleep. Set more than one alarm and make sure one of them is battery-operated and resistant to fluke power failure. Budget time for breakfast. Know more than one route to your test location. Have an outfit ready. Leave everything you need in one place the night before: your admissions tickets, several sharpened number two pencils, an acceptable calculator and a photo ID.

Oh, and make sure you have a ride.

Good luck!

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