SAT test-day Dos

With your SAT test day nearing, it is obvious for you do get nervous. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t prepared or would score less.

A little bit of nervousness and stress can be good as they help you maintain focus. But how do you make sure that you don’t cross that thin line between nervousness and anxiety. I could spend the next 10 minutes explaining to you how nervousness is good and anxiety is bad but that doesn’t solve anything for us. If you’re curious google the difference.

What we want to do today is to cover our bases and make sure we eliminate all the factors that could probably cause us anxiety on the SAT test day.

What’s the best way to do it? Get your ducks in a row. By the day before the test day, you would have studied all you could possibly study. So, on test day, all we need to worry about is how we spend the time before the test, and how we utilize every extra minute on the test, that we spend not answering any questions.

We have gone through various SAT test-taking strategies. But, if you blank out on the test due to anxiety, they will hold no value.

So, let’s get on with the to do list for your SAT test day.

DO CARRY THESE ITEMS TO THE TEST CENTER

backpack pencil money notepad

Knowing what items to carry with you on the test day is an added bonus. You can obviously remove any banned items from your person when you reach the test center, but why not be extra prepared and carry only the things that the College Board allows and that you will possibly use during the SAT exam.

You would obviously know that you have to carry your admission ticket and a valid ID proof to the test center.

Just to freshen up your memory though, you need to carry the original copy of an unexpired photo ID issued by the Government or the institution you currently study at. It should also be issued with your full name, as you have mentioned on you SAT registration thus, matching your Admission ticket.

Let’s look at a few more items

Stationary

Even if you’re taking the online form of the SAT, you will need some stationary for any rough work that you perform. Thus, carrying at two pencils, a sharpener, and an eraser would be a smart idea.

A calculator

The best part about SAT calculators is that unlike most standardized tests, they do not ban Scientific or Graphing calculators.

However, SAT does not allow any calculators that are apps, make sound, or require electrical outlets or such. So basically, don’t take your phone to your exam is what they’re trying to tell you. Taking extra batteries for your calculator will save you the pain if it suddenly decides to die in the middle of your test.

A watch and some snacks

A watch is a handy tool as it can help you keep yourself in check and on schedule throughout the test. But don’t take your smart watch with you. This might have worked in school tests and in 2005, but invigilators will have you remove any devices, that could possibly help you cheat, at the door.

Taking a snack for your break is also just another optional thing like the watch, hence the pairing.

A Sweatshirt or cardigan

The sole reason to carry a cardigan, or a front open sweatshirt is to add layers to your clothing. Being too hot or too cold during the exam can be very distracting.

If you carry a front-open sweatshirt or cardigan taking it on-and off would be much easier and hassle free in case you get too cold or too hot.

DO HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE

Having a morning routine for your test-day might seem like an odd thing to do, but it will have its benefits I promise.

This routine will be planned by you, after you take various mock tests. While taking mock tests during your SAT prep, make sure you take them at the same time slot that you have picked for your actual SAT. When you do that, you will start to notice some problems like fatigue, or drowsiness. These are problems that you would face during your actual test as-well. Find out what helps you to beat these problems. Maybe a cup of coffee, or some light exercise could help. But you wouldn’t know unless you try a couple different things for a couple different mock tests.

Now let’s look at what a typical morning routine on your test day should look like.

Test your calculator

Testing your calculator before leaving the house will give you some time to either find, or buy another calculator if something is wrong.

From battery changes to inaccurate answers, test your calculator in every possible way as it would be the base for most of your Math answers during the test.

Get some exercise

Exercising releases endorphins that allow you to concentrate better, and wake up completely. And you could use both for your SAT.

You don’t have to hit the gym, or run a marathon. Even a brisk walk through around your neighbourhood should be sufficient to help you get your game face on.

Check your bag

You must have packed a bag to take to the exam center, the day before your test-day. You don’t have to sort through everything again. Just take a quick look at the list you must have set your bag by, and check to see if you have missed anything, or add the things you were supposed to add on test day like snacks and water.

Warm up for the test

You have been told again and again by various blogs to shut out any preparation at least a day before your test day. So how would you exactly warm-up for the SAT?

Just spend a few minutes, 5-10, solving a couple of questions from each section on the SAT. Select these questions before hand if you want. All we need this for is to stretch a little before you run the marathon named SAT.

Have a hearty breakfast

Your breakfast will be the only complete meal you eat for some time, while you attempt your SAT. So, having a full stomach would mean one less distraction. This is also the reason that I advocate taking snacks to the test center.

Plan your route

I am pretty sure you must have looked at the route from your home to the test-center the night before your SAT.

However, most maps only show you the timing and traffic condition for the time you look up a route on them. Thus, looking at the route from your house to your test center is a must in the morning, in case there is any traffic, or congestion due to rush hours, or unforeseen events like accidents.

DO THESE THINGS DURING THE TEST

You’ve reached the test center and have started taking the SAT. You’re religiously following every single strategy you have learnt throughout your SAT prep and feel pretty good about the way your exam is going.

There are still a couple of things that you should definitely do.

Utilize your breaks

stretching feet test break

The breaks you get in-between sections on the SAT should be used smartly. No doubt, the SAT is a long exam. You might even get frustrated during the course of the exam. But you get breaks between sections, do deal with such things.

Sitting in one-spot can be annoying, tiring, and uncomfortable amongst other things. Stretch your legs, or walk inside the building premises on your breaks. If you are feeling nervous, the breaks are also a very good time to have snacks, or use the restroom if you need to.


The SAT may be a high-stakes test, but it isn’t as scary as you might think. If you don’t get a good score, you can always take the test again. All that matters, is that you stick to your training for the test. Getting anxious will make you confused during the test and would result in you throwing all your practice out the window in an attempt to solve questions at any cost.

Following the steps that I have mentioned above would help put your mind at ease as you won’t miss anything that you require to take to the test-center. It will also help you regain control of your mind if it does start to spin during the test.

Remember, keeping calm is a key thing to ace any standardized test, like the SAT. It is also one thing that nobody can teach you.