January 2011 SAT

Second SAT as an adult. In previous posts, I’ve written quite a bit about the test itself and my experiences with it, so allow me in this post to pass on some miscellaneous observations regarding admission tickets, calculators, food, etc. – all the little things that can boost (or lessen) your chances for doing as well as possible.

(Note: There were about 20 students in my testing room.)

Admission Ticket – One student arrived without his Admission Ticket. They took care of him (i.e. after finding the head proctor and getting cleared he still tested); however, that’s time and stress that most of us don’t need. Spend the time the night before organizing what you’ll need (Admission Ticket, 2-3 sharpened pencils, calculator, digital watch, snacks, drinks) and putting it together for easy gathering the next morning.

Calculator – At least two students tested without a calculator. Now, I know they tell you that every problem can be solved without a calculator (and I find that in many cases the calculator gets in the way); however, why not have one just in case? I tend to use mine to make sure that my mental math is correct.

Food – I left my house at 7:30 (the printed arrival time was 7:45), and we weren’t released until close to 1:00. That’s five-and-a-half hours, most of which involves some serious, energy-draining concentration. Bring food and eat it during the breaks.

One student told me that she struggled with the final three sections (the two, 20-minute sections and the 10-minute section) because she was hungry and losing energy and focus. Ironically, she had brought food but decided not to eat it.

Breaks – You get three, 5-minute breaks. Use them to get up and move around. Increased blood flow helps you to concentrate, improves your recall, ups your energy level, etc.

I’d guess that half of the students spent all three breaks sitting in their chairs. The breaks aren’t long; however, they provide plenty of time to get up, walk around a bit, and stretch.

I’ve now taken both the SAT and the ACT twice in the past 18 months. Once I get my SAT scores, I’ll blog about the two tests, with the goal of helping you decide which one may be the best for you.

Hope this helps. Don’t forget… Plan, Practice, Perform. 🙂

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