I took the SAT twice when I was in high school. The first run was a royal flop; the second got me a full-tuition merit scholarship at the University of Chicago. In retrospect, it’s no mystery what I did wrong. Let me share my experience with you, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.
I’m home from school, and a wave of unease is rippling through the household. I’m way hungrier than I should be, and the last thing I want to do is my homework. I manage to procrastinate until 9pm and stay up all night finishing an assignment I forgot about (oops!).
Ugh. I’m stressed. Everything is in my way and the world is against me. I find out about a drama going on in the grade below and become totally preoccupied with getting the inside-scoop in order to avoid thinking about my real problems.
Okay, now I’m willing to admit that the SAT is tomorrow. Panic sets in. I look at the giant book of practice problems untouched in a desolate corner of my bedroom and decide now is the time to start studying. Flipping through, I see page after page of formulas that I don’t remember using since middle school. I take a deep breath and say well, I know what I know; it’s got to be good enough.
I’m exhausted and chugging coffee in my car before walking into the test center. Did I misspell my name on the bubble sheet? Once I start to think about a question, I look at the clock and get anxious about how much time I have left. I freeze. After the test, I go home and cry for three hours.
That’s worst-case scenario. Here’s what we’d like to see:
Alright. Three nights, three sections on the SAT. I’m going to dedicate an hour before bed each night to reviewing one of the sections. I start with reading, because that’s what I like best. Confidence booster. Nothing is keeping me from my eight hours of sleep tonight.
I send a quick text to my tutor asking about a tough problem I looked over the night before. She reminds me of the strategy for that question type in case I get stuck on test day. Tonight I run through my grammar workbook that outlines each rule I might be asked about on Saturday. Eight more hours of sleep.
Am I excited for the SAT? That’s a stretch, but I’m ready to put my new strengths to the test. Before bed, I’m reading through my math guide, memorizing a few formulas, polishing up the tools in my toolbox. I’ve totally got this. Nothing can be surprise me. I know these problems like the back of my hand.
I’m up in time to eat a protein-rich breakfast and read a newspaper article to get the juices flowing. One more glance over my notes, and I can tell I couldn’t be better prepared. I walk in the test center head held high and ready to show the world what I’ve got.
Which week are you going to have?
Let Streamline Tutors help you with the legwork. With our comprehensive strategy guides and concept review materials, you can work efficiently to maximize your score. Ready to get started?
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