With many SAT testing dates approaching, there are a lot of tips circulating for doing well on the test. "Take practice tests," "Review X, Y, and Z," and, of course, "Process of elimination!" are all great tips, but some things that factor into SAT success don't involve studying. Giving it your all largely involves being in the right state of mind – and getting into that "zone" starts the night before exam day. Here are a few things you can do to get into test-taking mode once you're within 24 hours of starting time.
The day before the big test, go for a jog, play some Frisbee with your dog, or enjoy a game of pickup basketball with your friends. Exercise is great for two things: relieving stress and getting high-quality sleep, two things that are very important before taking the exam. Just make sure not to work out too late, as the adrenaline can keep you awake.
Make sure to put your calculator, new batteries, your photo ID, and two #2 pencils in a pouch together so you're not fumbling around looking for them as you're about to walk out the door. It might also be a good idea to put a filling snack, like a protein bar, in the bag too in case you get a grumbling stomach on the way there.
Getting up early probably isn't your ideal scenario, but you want to give yourself time to fully wake up before taking the test. Being groggy is distracting and will affect your performance. Reap the benefits of getting up early by doing a brain teaser, such as a Sudoku puzzle or a crossword, before going to the exam. This will help to jump-start your brain and get you into test-taking mode.
Eating a big breakfast will give you the energy and brainpower you need to stay focused. Don't go overboard with something too greasy and filling – otherwise, you'll feel lethargic. Instead, try some fruit, yogurt, and granola, or just snack on two eggs with toast.
Cramming the night before and the morning of the exam sounds like it would be a good idea, but those last few minutes aren't going to give you the information you need to significantly improve your test scores. As a matter of fact, studying for the SAT too close to the day of the test can, in fact, stress you out. Try some light reading or brain games instead.