The night before you take the SATs is the last chance you have to prepare.  Follow these tips so you can successfully follow through on your months of hard work!



It’s nearly impossible to cram the night before for the SATs.  There are just too many concepts to reasonably improve your score with one night of work.  Your success the following day will be determined by your practice regimen for the previous months.  If it will help you sleep, feel free to look over your notes one last time. But, really what you want to be doing is relaxing.

There’s no single prescription on how to take a load off.  Do what’s comfortable for you. Catch an early movie with your friends.  Go on a run. Read a book. Whatever you do, be in bed by 10 or 11. You have to be up early the next day and want as much sleep as possible.


Unplug and Exercise

Devices like laptops and smart phones emit blue light which suppress melatonin –a hormone which lets you fall asleep.  In essence, the more time you spend on electronics at night, the harder it will be to get a good night’s rest. Experts recommend turning off your phone at least half an hour before you begin getting ready for bed.  Those text messages can wait till tomorrow.  If you have an old fashioned alarm clock, consider using that to wake yourself up in the morning rather than your phone’s alarm function.


Exercise is another great way to put yourself to sleep.  Vigorously working out for even ten minutes can dramatically improve the quality and quantity of one’s sleep.  Don’t hit the gym too late though; many people struggle falling asleep if they exercised directly beforehand.  Our general recommendation is exercising around 6 or 7 if you plan to sleep four hours later.


Additionally, meditation can improve your mindfulness and  focus, ultimately leading to a higher test score.  The greatest benefits are conferred to people who incorporate meditation into their daily lifestyle, but even doing it as needed can still be helpful.  The website and app Headspace offers ten-minute guided meditation sessions which are great for beginners



You should pack snacks and fill your water bottle the evening before the test.  There’s a lot of pseudoscience behind so called “brain foods”. Unfortunately, eating a bag of blueberries and dark chocolate while taking the SAT will not raise your score 300 points.  But you should bring in food which is nutritious, but not too heavy. A small bag of nuts, some fruit and granola usually does the trick.


Double check that you have all the necessary documentation to take the exam.  That includes printing your Admission Ticket and having your photo identification ready.  Sharpen a batch of No. 2 pencils with erasers. Pack your calculator and a spare set of batteries.  Double check that your calculator is a model approved by the College Board.  Barring a sudden crisis, you want to take the test with the same calculator which you’ve used for practice.


There’s no need to stress yourself out by scrambling the morning of.  Minimize the amount of time that you have to spend collecting your materials by putting everything in your backpack before you go to bed.  That way you can do your morning routine, pick up your bag and go straight to the test without a hitch. Don’t forget to plan your route there as well!  If the testing location is unfamiliar, try driving there a few days early.


Eat a healthy breakfast

It’s not fun taking a four-hour test while you feel groggy or bloated.  The best way to avoid that is eating a healthy breakfast. That means plenty of water, even if you don’t think you need it.  Over fifty percent of Americans between the age of 6 and 19 are dehydrated, so there’s a good chance you are too.  In terms of food, have something filling that isn’t too sugary. Some scrambled eggs or oatmeal with fresh fruit are both great options.  Don’t be afraid to have some coffee, but know your limits. If you typically drink a cup with breakfast, that’s fine. However, a venti cappuccino from Starbucks probably isn’t the best idea.


Get there early

The doors to take the test will open at 7:45 and close at 8 sharp.  Build in a fifteen-minute buffer so that if you hit traffic or need to park, you can still get to the exam on time.  Test administrators are incredibly strict about the timing window for the exam. If you arrive later than 8, you may be unable to take the SAT.  There’s nothing worse than months of hard work going to naught because you got held up because of an accident.

That’s the nuts and bolts of what you need to do in the 24 hours before you take the SAT.  There’s very little you can learn in that last day, so the best thing you can do is make it as stress free as possible for yourself.  Your hard work will pay off. You should be confident and take pride in the work that you’ve done thus far. Worst case scenario, if you perform beneath your expectations, you can almost always take the exam again.  Relax, it will all be ok!