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How to take the SAT - from a senior who's been there

Posted by Leslie Anderson  September 27, 2013 04:21 PM

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No one likes waking up early on a Saturday morning. Especially teenagers, like me, who love their sleep. Unfortunately, waking up early on a Saturday is one of the dreadful parts of standardized testing.

kreiter_collegeapplicant2_we.jpgHaving taken the SATs twice already, the standardized testing experience begins to feel more like a strict drill each time. However, your preparation for the test can certainly determine the stability of that drill. Running around frantically at the last second is certainly not the way to go about prepping for an already mentally taxing activity.

My first piece of advice for preparing for the SATs? Organize yourself. Laying out your pencils, calculator, snack, water, and admission ticket the night before can save you so much excess stress. Coming from someone who has some testing anxiety herself, standardized testing is stressful enough without frantically running around 10 minutes before trying to prepare yourself.

Speaking of 10 minutes before, it’s crucial that you arrive early to the test center. Why get up even earlier, you ask? Well the answer is simple. To refrain from stressing yourself out even more (hopefully, you’re beginning to notice a pattern here).

Because this is an academic test, it’s essential that you mentally prepare yourself by familiarizing yourself with how the test is actually going to be structured. Before I had started preparing for the SATs, I had absolutely no idea how time-oriented they were. Out of 10 sections, each is timed to be either 20 or 25 minutes, not one extra second of time allowed. This, unfortunately, adds on to that preexisting pressure.

Although there is the option of having a tutor help you, this isn’t for everyone. It really depends on your style of learning.

If everything I’ve told you so far seems like a lot to take in, it’s understandable.

Standardized testing is always nerve wracking, but the one reassuring aspect of it is that it’s standardized, and almost every high school junior and senior has to go through the exact same process. If you’re at all concerned with your test scores, it’s also reassuring to know that there are, in fact, test optional schools, in case you feel like your test scores aren’t an accurate representation of your intellect.

If you’re taking any standardized tests in the next couple of months, I wish you the best of luck!

Bridget Brown is a senior at Wellesley High School. She can be reached at

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