What to Do the Week Before the SAT if You Haven't Prepared At All

Note: Partying Didn't Make the List

nervous.jpg
Getty Images

What to Do the Week Before the SAT if You Haven't Prepared At All

This is it. You have exactly one week before you head to the testing center and take the SAT. You have not prepared at all before now, and you only have one week - just seven short nights - before you take the test that can help or hurt your chances of getting into the college or university you are dying to get into. So, what do you do the week before the SAT that can make any sort of difference in your score?

Cram like a maniac? Completely forget about looking at test prep material at all because, after all, what good would it do? Reschedule your SAT? Have a panicky meltdown in the cereal aisle of Target? 

Before you get any crazy ideas, take a peek at the things you should be doing to get yourself ready this week so you have a shot at getting a good score on test day. 

Go Immediately to a Bookstore and Buy an SAT Test Prep Book

Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go immediately to the store - right now - and pick up a test prep book for the SAT. Choose one from either The Princeton Review, Kaplan Test Prep or The College Board. The Princeton Review is the most readable, so I'd start there. Make sure the book you buy is for the Redesigned SAT, the test that took over for the old SAT in March of 2016. There will be nothing worse than prepping for a test that no longer exists. 

Go To KhanAcademy.org and Take an SAT Practice Test

The Khan Academy has partnered with The College Board, the makers of the SAT test, to provide students with free SAT practice tests to help you get ready for the exam.

Ideally, you should have been using this site for the last four weeks to really hone your skills. However, there are still some things you can do on the site to get you better prepared for the test on Saturday. Before we do them, we need to know the areas in which you need the most help. So first, take a full-length practice SAT test.

You will need to sign up with your Facebook or email account. 

Pinpoint Your Weaknesses

At this point, you must focus on the areas of the test in which you're the least proficient. That means, after you take the practice test and the Khan Academy scores it for you, write down or print out the area scores that were the lowest. Was it Math? Great. You'll be zeroing in on that. You'll need to focus on your weaknesses - and exclusively on them - most of this week. 

Strengthen Your Weaknesses

Since you've narrowed down the areas of primary concern, you need to start pumping them up! Again, go to the Khan Academy website, and complete the practice problems for the areas that you were the weakest, Likewise, go to your test prep book and read through the sections and complete the practice problems in those weak areas. You're going to spend 4-5 days working on these sections to really boost them up as much as possible.

Check out your Strengths 

After you've really nailed down your weakest section, spend one day learning about the sections of the test where you scored the highest. Was it Reading? Or Writing? Read through the test directions, the content you'll need to know, and complete as many practice questions as you possible can.

Write a Practice Essay

If you haven't already, write a timed SAT essay using one of the prompts from the test prep book. Although the essay isn't figured into your overall score and is no longer a required feature of the SAT exam, many colleges and universities still require it and may use it to assess your overall readiness for the program in which you're interested. At the very least, you'll get a refresher on writing an essay in a short amount of time. 

Take One More Practice Test

This time, try to simulate the test-taking experience as much as possible, and take the paper practice test in the back of the book. Sit at a desk in a quiet room. Set a time-limit just like you'd have on test day, and work through the problems with efficient test-taking strategies. Don't you dare cheat by getting up in the middle of the test or guzzling a soda in the middle of it, either.

It's good to practice disciplining yourself to sit and focus.  

Get All Your Stuff Ready The Night Before

There are several things you need to do the night before the SAT. First, be sure you have your admission ticket and photo ID ready to go. Then, check for test center closings and plan out your route to the testing center. Set your clock. Get your clothes ready so you're not scrambling in the morning. Want the complete list? See it here. 

Relax the Night Before

At this point, you've done everything you can do to get ready for the SAT in the limited time you've provided yourself. So...relax. Go out to dinner with your family. Watch an EARLY movie and hit the sack EARLY so you can be bright and refreshed for that early morning wake-up call. You can sabotage all of the hard work you've put in by doing something silly like going out or partying the night before the SAT.