UW Dream Project

For High School Students: Tips for Surviving the SAT

In high school, I took nine standardized tests: the Connecticut state test equivalent to the WASL called the CAPT, five AP exams, and three SATs. I have friends who took even more exams than I did, and by graduation, we were exhausted. I find myself experiencing sympathy pains as our current cohort of high school seniors prepares to take their SAT exam on this Saturday, November 3.

High school seniors, have no fear! I know that the SAT is the last thing that anybody wants to do on a Saturday morning, especially when you could be at Admissions Workshop Weekend! (We hope to see you later that day or on Sunday instead!) I was a freak about taking my standardized tests, developing a routine for each morning involving breakfast and jumping jacks in my kitchen at 7am, since I’d read somewhere that exercise stimulates brain activity and I was taking no prisoners with these exams! But here are several hints that I learned that are less crazy than doing jumping jacks before each exam—unless, of course, that works for you! That’s the moral of the story: these tips are just what worked for me, they may not work for you!

Tips for Surviving the SAT

The Night Before:

  • Study, but not too much.
  • Watch some funny/lighthearted tv or hang out with a good friend or your family—just do something relaxing!
  • Get some sleep! There comes a point when sleep is more important than studying for these exams.

The Morning of the Exam:

    • Eat breakfast. I don’t care if you ignore the rest of the tips on this list, you should eat breakfast before each exam. How’s your brain supposed to function if it’s running on empty? My magic exam day breakfast is eggs, toast, and blueberries.
    • Visualize the test going really, really well.
    • Make sure you have all your supplies ready to go, including multiple pencils/pens.
    • Make a snack for the test breaks. My magic exam day snack is trail mix made with peanuts, raisins, and M&M’s. Don’t forget a water bottle!
    • On the car ride/walk there, blast some awesome, pump-it-up music to wake yourself up and get in a positive mindset. For my final SAT, I also decorated my car with my friends, writing “2400 OR BUST” on all of the windows J (Disclaimer: I did not get a 2400 on my SAT.)

During the Exam:

  • Don’t think about these tips! Think about the exam material! And good luck!!

After the Exam:

  • Treat yourself to a spectacular lunch, a gigantic ice cream cone, a new magazine, a nap, a movie, an afternoon at AWW, whatever you need to relax. You deserve it! Taking the SAT is hard work and you are DONE! We’re so proud of you :)

-Lauren Martin
HS3 High School Lead