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How to Use Your One Week Before the October SAT

Can you feel it? All the hard work you did over summer almost ready to be tested? Your hands are sweaty; your heart is racing. In one week, you, like many other students across the nation, will sit down to take the first SAT of the fall season. Months of summer preparation have led to this. Many nights hanging out with a practice book and phone clock have culminated to this moment. To make sure your hard work is not wasted, here is a guide to the final week before the test.

1) Don’t freak out.

You have been practicing for this test a lot. You can recite SAT vocab like it’s your middle name. You can calculate math problems in your head. You correct your English teacher’s grammar. And hey, even if this doesn’t exactly describe you, you are far better off than you think. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are capable of getting your target score.

2) Practice smart, not hard.

Don’t pull out all your notes and old practice exams to do a comprehensive cram. Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. If you always ace the writing part, then make sure you have that down and focus on other areas. Many students have a hard time with the reading section. You should definitely do some practice to remind you of the format, but don’t do major studying because your score will not increase too much in just a single week.

3) Write at least one 25-minute essay.

Students like to pretend that the essay isn’t really important or challenging, but it is. And if you let it, the essay can sink your writing and overall SAT score. The essay score is 30% of the writing score. That’s a pretty hefty chunk, believer it or not. So get those pre-brainstormed examples ready. Get your writing groove in motion. Remember: history and literature work great for examples.

4) Do a little practice each day.

Instead of over-cramming and making your brain fry, you should do one section for each subject a day. At the very least, review the subjects you’re stronger at for a little bit each day. The final week, as I said earlier, is no time to start learning complex skills.

All right, now go forth! Get a nice study schedule ready for this week, and yes, it may be necessary for you to spend a little extra time with the SAT. Better prepare now than later, when you may have to retake it because you didn’t make the final touches on your months of preparation. Don’t let the October SAT be the ghoul that haunts your dreams. You have the power to vanquish the demon.


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