Digital SAT Prep 2024 For Dummies
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You’re approaching the end of your Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) prep journey — nicely done! It isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be easy for you to handle it and do great. Here are a few tips to help you do well on exam day.

What to do the night before the SAT

You’re almost there. Follow these steps to get your rest and set up an easy morning — all part of getting yourself ready.

  • Don’t study anything. You’ve prepped what you can, and now you need your rest. There’s nothing to cram, anyway: The SAT is based on skills, like hitting a volleyball, and stamina, like running a half-marathon. By now you’ve built these up, and you can’t improve these the night before. Instead, get your rest.
  • Stay in. There will be another game or party. Instead, take it easy, read a book, and plan on getting to bed early. Careful if you watch TV — if you catch a long movie or binge a TV show, it’ll be late before you know it, and you’ll sacrifice your good night’s sleep.
  • Have a good, normal dinner. This isn’t the night for an exotic gastronomic experience. Have that after the exam. Right now, you don’t need to risk the distraction of an upset stomach.
  • Get your snacks together. You need a couple of good, healthy snacks that don’t have to go in the fridge and aren’t too sugary. Pack a bottle of water, but not soda or juice, which is also sugary. Diet soda is fine if that’s your normal go-to.
  • Get your forms together. Make sure you can access your registration forms. Even if you’re testing at your school, you may need proof that you’re registered to this particular session, so have this ready. You don’t want to augment (add to) your stress by searching through your emails and saved docs.
  • Get your materials together. You don’t need a calculator, and the testing center provides scratch paper. Just make sure you have a few sharpened no. 2 pencils ready to go.
  • Check where you’re taking the exam. Your exam isn’t always at your school, so confirm where it is and get directions. If you don’t drive, make sure you have a way to get there.

What to do the morning of the SAT

Now you’re even closer. Follow these steps for a smooth sail through test day.

  • Still don’t study anything. Focus on a smooth testing experience, not the material itself. Your skills are solid from the steps in this book, and there’s nothing to memorize anyway. Besides, there’s no time.
  • Have a good, normal breakfast. The breakfast you have every other day will work today. Bigger is fine, but don’t eat or drink anything you don’t normally have.
  • Leave your calculator, notes, and books at home. As you know, the SAT provides scratch paper and an on-screen calculator, so you don’t need to bring either one. You won’t have time to check your notes or books, and you shouldn’t need to anyway.

During the exam

Now it’s show time! You so got this. Just keep in mind the basic strategies.

  • Stick to the one-minute-per-question rule. Some questions take longer than others, so this rule isn’t exact. The point is that you don’t spend five minutes on one question, then leave four questions unanswered at the end.
  • Check the review screen. Keep an eye on the review screen for questions that you skipped or flagged to return to. Make sure you don’t end the module with questions unanswered — at the very least, jump in there and take a guess! Also, if you plan to return to a question, the flag is your reminder, so this way you don’t forget it — assuming you have the minutes to return to it.

Only flag the questions you plan to revisit. Don’t flag every question that you have some doubt on! With three minutes remaining, and 12 questions flagged, how do you know which answers are probably right and which you need to go back and revisit? If the answer is probably right, then don’t flag it. Instead, dedicate your remaining time to revisiting answers that need more attention.

How to handle the SAT reading and writing section

You’ve practiced these, so there’s nothing new here today. You’re good to go.

  • Work the faster questions before the time-intensive questions. You know which question types go faster from taking your practice tests, and you’ve explored skipping around on a practice test — right?
  • Cross off wrong answers. Cover the answer choices, read the question, read the text, answer the question yourself, and cross off wrong answers. With your own answer in mind, the right answer doesn’t match, but the three wrong answers stick out like sore thumbs, so cross ‘em off and go with the remaining answer, quickly. The online exam allows you to cross off answers on screen, so what more do you need? Just be sure to stick with your answer, and don’t doubt it based on the answer choices, because three of those are traps. You’ve practiced this strategy also, right?

During the break

Now catch your mental breath. Like everything else SAT, your success is from being prepared and knowing what to do.

  • Skip the lines. Avoid the drinking fountain and vending machine: You don’t have time for that. Have the water or diet soda that you brought, have your healthy snacks, use the restroom, and get back to your seat early so you can clear your mind before starting the math. Good thing you packed your drinks and snacks ahead of time.

How to handle the math section

Now for the second half of the SAT. If you’ve followed the steps outlined in this book (and recapped in this Cheat Sheet), you should be in good shape, calm, and relaxed. Plus you know exactly what to do.

  • Look for the concept. The actual math is always simple, and you never have to go through lines of scratch work — what one student called, “stubby pencil.” The question is based on the math concept, not the number crunching. If you’re knee-deep in the math, then you missed the math concept, so step out of that trap: Guess an answer, flag the question for review, and move on. You may spot the concept when you return to the question, but if you don’t, at least it didn’t cost you a lot of time.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Ron Woldoff is founder of National Test Prep, where he has helped thousands of students succeed on the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, and PSAT. He’s the author of current and previous editions of SAT For Dummies and GRE For Dummies.

Ron Woldoff is founder of National Test Prep, where he helps students succeed on the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, and PSAT. He’s the author of numerous Dummies test prep titles, including GRE 2022 For Dummies and SAT: 1,001 Practice Questions For Dummies.

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