Get ready to crush the math SAT
Ah, the SAT. Three tiny letters, and a big rite of passage for many college-bound students… not to mention a huge stressor for most. Although some schools are making the SAT and ACT optional, many colleges still require scores for admission (sorry, we’re just the messenger).
We understand if standardized tests aren’t your jam, which is why we’re here to help you navigate!
Just because the SAT has a scary reputation doesn’t mean you need to be afraid. With the right preparation, you can reduce your stress, increase your confidence, and power through that (not so) terrifying test.
SAT study tips for math
First and foremost, you need to make sure you know your stuff! The more confident you feel in your math skills, the more confident you should feel when it comes time to take the test. But how do you get from here to there?
We’ve got some tips:
Focus on one topic at a time
When you try to do too much at once, your brain gets overloaded and overwhelmed. Try time-blocking, setting alarms, or just making some lists that will help you organize everything upfront. That way, you can tackle one thing at a time without wondering what else you have to do!
Study with friends
Friends help friends prepare for standardized tests! Quiz each other on vocab, check each other’s work, or try teaching each other different concepts. You can even help each other keep up the morale if stress starts setting in. Just make sure you study with friends who will actually help you focus!
Get the right tools
You’re not in this alone! There’s no shame in using productivity tools, study guides, or even your favorite math learning app (*wink wink*) to help you prepare. For SAT prep, we love our embedded glossary so that you can actually see definitions in context, not just listed out in a book.
We also recommend doing your math homework and SAT prep with the calculator you intend to use for the test. You want to be familiar with it and make sure it works before test day! But before you commit to a calculator, make sure the calculator you plan to use is allowed.
The night before the test
The SAT isn’t just a knowledge game; it can also be a really emotional experience for many students. It’s totally normal to be stressed before a big test, especially the SAT, so taking care to set yourself up for success is key.
- Prepare your materials. You won’t want to waste time in the morning scrambling to find everything you need to bring, like your calculator, admission ticket (don’t forget to print it!), photo ID, and №2 pencils. We recommend laying it all out the night before on a table or dresser so that you don’t need to stress about forgetting something.
- Eat a nutritious dinner. Try not to eat anything too heavy that’s going to make you want to sleep past your alarm in the morning!
- Cheer your future self on. Leave a sticky note (or two, or more!) on your mirror or bedside table with affirmations to gas you up when you wake up on test day.
- Go to bed early. Your brain needs time to rest and reset. Make sure you can get 7–8 hours of sleep so you’re fresh and ready for the big day. If you can, start doing this a few nights beforehand; that way, you’ll get real rest instead of just catching up on missed sleep from the week. Plus, establishing the habit earlier will make it easier the night before the test!
- Triple check your alarm. Make sure you’re realistically giving yourself enough time in the morning to get ready and get to the test center on time. It wouldn’t hurt to set a back-up alarm just in case.
Your test day checklist
Goooood morning, SAT day! You’ve done all you can ahead of time — now it’s just about focusing, finding the right mindset, and making sure you have what you need.
When you wake up:
- Brush your teeth and wash your face to feel alert and energized
- Go for a walk or do some stretches to get your blood flowing
- Have a healthy breakfast so your stomach isn’t grumbling halfway through the test
When it’s time to go, bring your:
- Photo ID
Current student ID, government-issued ID, passport, etc.
- Printed SAT admission ticket
- Two (2) №2 pencils with erasers
- Acceptable calculator and spare batteries
On your way to the testing center:
- Listen to your favorite playlist or podcast to keep your energy up
- Talk to a friend or family member who encourages you
- Put the windows down to get some fresh air (if possible)
When you arrive:
- Turn off your phone
- Take three deep breaths
- Remember you’re ready and can do this!
A note on timing: Doors to the test center will open at 7:45am and close at 8:00am, with testing beginning around 8:30am. You can expect to head home around 12:00pm, so make sure your transportation is on the same schedule!
We know… that all seems like a lot, and it kind of is. But it’s nothing you can’t handle. With the right preparation and mindset, you can surprise yourself with how well you navigate this big academic event.
Now go get ‘em!!