Words can not express my joy after this morning: my fifth and final time of getting up early and having to drive to a somewhat distant SAT Testing Center. I have taken the regular SAT three times and today was my second time taking the SAT Subject Tests. I took Literature, Math I, and Math II, in that order. It was my first time taking Math II and out of the three, it was by far the most difficult.
After the first test ended, about twenty kids left the testing room and maybe twelve or so remained. After the second test ended, EVERY SINGLE PERSON LEFT EXCEPT FOR ME. I was the only one still there. I felt so bad for the proctor. He could have gone home early but because of me, he now had to stay for another hour. I know that is his job, but I still felt bad. He seemed nice though. We talked a little bit about colleges before starting the third test.
It’s a shame that it took five times of taking the SAT to finally learn all of the little bits of information that make the whole test so much easier and less stressful. Even though it’s too late for me, I figured I would share my lessons learned for all of you underclassmen out there!
1. Take practice tests. They help, I promise.
Time management during the tests was always one of my biggest problems. The practice tests will help you with it a lot!
2. Arrive at the testing center early.
You’ll have time to calm down if you’re nervous.
3. Bring a carbonated drink and a granola bar.
I always get hungry after about an hour into the test so the snack helps. Plus, I found that while water was fine, a carbonated sugary drink helped me keep my energy up for the remaining two hours.
4. Sit further back, if possible.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel more comfortable sitting further back in a room, and as a result, I score higher.
5. Bring extra batteries and a spare calculator.
In my five times of testing, I never once had to use these things but I don’t regret bringing them anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
6. Take the hardest subject test first!
The sooner in the morning you take a test, the easier it is to focus, and so you’ll have the best shot at getting the best score you are capable of on it.
7. Bring multiple number two pencils and a sharpener.
I always brought a mechanical pencil just in case my proctor would allow me to use it- they never did. Truthfully, it’s not worth the risk of getting your scores cancelled anyway. Just use ordinary pencils.
8. PRACTICE FILLING IN THE BUBBLES.
On my first SAT, I wasted so much time coloring in the circles. Now I’m an expert at it. It actually will make a big difference with how much time you have.
9. Don’t go to sleep early the night before if you aren’t used to it!
On a normal day, I go to bed closer to 1 AM due to school work. During my first few tests, I tried going to bed closer to 10 PM the night before. I found that this actually threw me off because it was going against my normal everyday sleeping schedule. Last night, I went to bed at 1 AM like any other day and I felt phenomenal this morning when I was taking my test.
10. Just fill in the testing booklet and answer key as quickly as you can.
The past four times, I always filled in my personal information as the proctor walked the group through it step-by-step. Today, I just filled everything in as soon as I received my books and my hands had a few minutes to rest before starting the actual test!
Oh and one last thing.
Word of Advice: Don’t wait until January of your Senior Year to take the SAT IIs!