By Nique Salapare
Brace yourself, Nova: the SAT’s back in town.
Standardized testing is not the most enjoyable activity in the world. Many students, mostly juniors, dread that one Saturday where they sit in an unfamiliar desk to take a four-hour long test whose score will be sent to the colleges they apply to.
Yes, the test itself can be extremely intimidating, but here are some tips that can help you through the whole process.
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A wise woman named Alexandra Paez once said, “If you didn’t study, it was hard.” And this statement is true. Doing nothing, waiting for the inevitable, will not help you on the SAT. Whether it’s a year before the test day, a month, or a day, practice makes perfect. You’ll become familiar with the style and wording of the questions, and it’ll help you practice your timing.
There are many different ways to study, and everyone has their own way of studying that works best for them. Some can complete three full practice tests in one sitting, and some can do a couple questions a day. It’s important for you to find the studying style that works best for you.
2. TALK IT OUT AND BREATHE
Are you struggling with practice questions? Talk it out with peers and upperclassmen who’ve taken the test already. Staring at a problem for five hours straight is not the best way to approach a problem, and there are many in our small Nova community who’d be happy to help.
Are you afraid of asking others for help? If you don’t feel like talking to people, then you can talk to yourself. Reread the problem as many times as you need to, or look away and distract yourself for five minutes, then look back at the problem. If the answer just isn’t coming to you, skip it and take deep breaths to calm down.
Are you feeling super overwhelmed by the test and by schoolwork and by life? Talk it out with your friends or your fam or Mrs. Carroll. Getting it out of your system is always better than keeping your frustrations bottled up inside, and this de-stressing can put you in a better mood before the test.
Prepare your brain, yes, for the intense test you’re about to take by studying. But you need to prepare your whole self for this test that can drain you completely if you don’t take care of yourself.
No, you don’t need to be doing practice tests until 2 AM every night. No, you definitely SHOULD NOT skip meals in order to have more time to study. And you should absoduckinglutely not be discouraging yourself, saying that you can’t do it or that you’re not smart enough. Your physical and emotional health are just as important as your mental health.
Get a good night’s rest for a week before the test if you can. Try to practice waking up early so you don’t feel like the walking dead on testing day. On the morning of the test, eat breakfast; I don’t care if you don’t normally eat breakfast. Eat it anyway.
“Start early and know what you need for the specific schools you are applying to.”
– Michael Martinson
“Be confident about what you’re doing. Even though it’s not fun and you’re probably going to sit through multiple tests on multiple days and feel like you’re wasting time, know that everything you do, you’re doing it for where you want to be. Answer confidently and feel good about being there (yes, I know, they suck).”
– Copper Clark
“Practice tests are your friends.”
– David Bender
“if you’re going to do a study group or take a class on it, be sure to be around people you don’t mind not paying attention to. Study groups are good, but try not to goof off too much or surround yourself with people who tend to get off topic easily!”
– Samantha DelaCruz
“Reviewing a little bit at a time to not overwhelm yourself is key. Also, when you take the test, the most important thing to focus on is time management, as its better to guess on some and have a chance of a correct answer than to not answer them at all.”
– Jessica Poland