Many students spend months and sometimes even years preparing for the SAT.
But let’s say you’re one of those “last minute” students who cram before any test. What if you’ve only got 48 hours until the SAT? Can you improve your score—and actually do better than you thought you could?
Ideally, you do want to spend weeks or months before the SAT taking practice tests and trying new strategies. However, if you’ve only got a short time left before the SAT, here are four quick strategies to help you get ready.
Manage your time wisely
With just 48 hours left before the SAT, you should set aside any extracurricular commitments. You’ll need at least 10 hours of prep over the 48-hour time span. If you’re in school, this means studying during your lunch breaks, in between sports practices and your other school activities. Most importantly, it means studying as soon as you get home. Turn off Facebook and grab an SAT book. I would also highly recommend downloading a free practice test from the College Board.
Focus on fewer problems
Take one full practice test. This will take about four hours. Do this test under timed conditions without distractions. Once you’ve finished the official practice SAT, choose three problems from each section that you got wrong. Having chosen these “missed” problems from the practice test, re-write and solve them on a separate piece of paper. Often, students try to do too many problems and forget to focus on the problems they actually missed.
Isolating the problems you missed is essential to knowing what you should focus on for the test. As there are 10 sections on the SAT test (including the essay), your paper should have a maximum of 30 missed problems on it. Even if you missed more than 30 questions, keep the paper simple and focused with fewer, more concentrated problems.
Try out the SAT’s math formula box
Most students are familiar with the formula box that begins every SAT math section. This box is called the “Reference Information” section. Many SAT math problems are based on this formula box.
Before test day, try to do at least five problems for each formula presented. Begin with basic algebra and move to more complex special right triangles. Luckily, the actual SAT math section goes no further than Algebra II and Geometry, so the formula box is a pretty accurate representation of the scope of problems in the math section.
Stay rested and relaxed
You should always stay rested and relaxed before the SAT. It’s very common that students have trouble sleeping before big tests. This isn’t always a bad thing, though. In fact, it shows you care about the test and really want to get into college.
To help you sleep better, don’t drink too much caffeine during your preparation for the test. Caffeine could quite possibly make you more nervous and anxious. Stay hydrated with water and eat a regular diet. And don’t eat junk food! Bad food will make you tired and less energetic when test day comes.
Even with 48 hours before the SAT, a higher score is possible. Remember to manage your time wisely, focus on fewer problems, know your math formula box and stay rested.You’re score is bound to improve with the right preparation.