7 Helpful Last Minute SAT Prep Tips

Flickr user Daniel Lee

The countdown is almost done and the SAT is right around the corner. Coming down to the wire like this can be pretty stressful. But worrying doesn’t help—preparation does! So here are some helpful SAT last minute tips that you can take advantage of the week of your SAT, or even the night before!

SAT Last Minute Tips to Prepare

1. One More Practice Test

If you have the time to squeeze in one last practice test, do so! Taking practice tests can help you develop your time management skills and further increase your familiarity with the format and content you’ll encounter.

A practice test as you’re heading into your test date can also help you calm your nerves and give you some direction on where you should focus your study time in the final days.

2. Focus on Your Remaining Weak Spots

At this point, your strengths are probably as good as they’re going to get, but you can always use your remaining study time to brush up on your weaker areas. Whether you take prep courses, have a tutor, are using a prep book, or are reading up on tip articles, take a look at where you can improve. Every little bit will pay off!

3. Don’t Cram the Night Before

This may be your go-to method when it comes to studying for a test, but it can do more harm than good – especially when it comes to the SAT! The SAT is an exam that needs to be studied for over time. You can’t possibly hope to catch up and properly prepare yourself the night before. Or even the week before. There is just too much to cover. 

If you’ve properly prepared for the test over the past few months, you should instead take the night before to maybe review the basics, but really – you should be relaxing and preparing yourself mentally instead. 

4. Take Care of Yourself

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s rest. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and dress comfortably. You want to go into the test entirely focused on the SAT—not how tired you feel, the fact your shirt is too tight, or your stomach is grumbling. Failing to get enough sleep can also impact your performance – another reason why cramming does not work for the SAT! And there’s no doubt that hunger can prove a serious distraction. Make sure you eat breakfast before you head to your exam!

5. Manage Test Stress

Even with your hard preparation work and rest, the SAT is still incredibly stressful. Some stress and pressure are good – it provides the proper motivation to do well – but too much can lead to panic and lower scores. Therefore, it’s key to have some stress management methods in hand, such as deep, steady breathing. You may also want to listen to music the night before your exam, watch a movie, or simply read your favorite book. Anything that helps you relax is a good idea here.

6. Gather Everything You Need the Night Before

The last thing you want to do is realize you’ve arrived at the SAT testing center without your pencils or calculator. You should be getting everything you need for the exam together the night before. That includes pencils, an approved calculator, snacks, water, and approved medications. You also need to have your approved I.D. with a photo and admission ticket. Set these aside in a bag so you can quickly grab them on your way out. 

7. Arrive on Time

Failing to arrive on time for the SAT can mean you can’t take the test! You should plan to get there a little bit ahead of your testing time so you can ensure if you run into traffic or you’re running late, you still have a window of time to spare. If you can’t make the test on time, you will forfeit your testing fees and have to reschedule for another day.

Plan to wake up early to give yourself time to get ready, eat breakfast, and travel to the testing center. 

The SAT can be a stressful event for some students, but properly preparing, even using SAT last minute tips, can pay off! While studying the night before won’t help your score, it’s the perfect time to review the basics, gather what you need, and get a good night’s rest.

Colleges and universities are looking for certain scores from their students – do you know what you need to aim for on the SAT to improve your admission chances to your dream school? College Raptor’s College Match tool allows you to see how you stack up against other students who have recently applied and been accepted so you can plan ahead for your education. Get started for free right here.

Check out how your SAT score affects your acceptance odds with College Raptor’s free match tool!