SCO's foolproof 24-hour guide to cramming for the SAT
The weather's warming up, flowers are blooming and summer break inches closer. However, a far more exciting event approaches as well: the SAT. The dreaded Big Daddy of all standardized exams. The Smartness…. Answering…Test? It really doesn't matter what it stands for. What matters is that you're prepared.
Using this handy and conveniently organized cramming guide, you can put off all your studying until the day before the test. Filled with advice from previous experiences, this guide will leave you brimming with scholastic knowledge and those all-powerful little circles under your eyes - the mark of an evening well-spent. After all, no test-taking experience is complete without studying all night and looking slightly gross the next morning. So pull on your favorite studying outfit (best if it's something scholarly, like jackets with suede elbow pads and tweed pants - pop your collar, for sure) and get ready to get a perfect score on your SAT.
Hour 1: Get out all your studying materials and set up your study space for the day. This area should be comfortable enough to sit at all day, but not so comfortable that you'd be tempted to fall asleep. It's an exact science.
Hours 2 - 3: Flip through your SAT test books and read the overviews of all three sections: writing, critical reading and math. Now that you understand what each section requires, do a few practice problems from each section.
Hour 4: Take a quick break, stretch your legs and relax your mind. An overworked brain will do you no good on test day. Take a brisk walk outside or plop yourself in front of the TV and just chill for an hour.
Do: Give your brain a break and maybe catch one episode of your favorite TV show.
Don't: Try to catch up on the whole past season of "America's Next Top Model" by watching the day-long marathon. Tyra Banks will undoubtedly appreciate it, but take it from us, there are no questions about "smiling with your eyes" on the SAT.
Hours 5 - 6: Now that your brain is all refreshed, sit down in front of your books, blow that dust off your TI-83 and do some practice problems in the math section of your book. If you haven't already, familiarize yourself with your calculator and all the great things it can do. But do not waste time attempting to beat the high score in Block Dude (it's not worth your time - how could any human being be trapped in a world where all he needs to do to escape is stack a bunch of blocks?).
Hours 7 - 9: Switch your focus to vocabulary words. It is rather difficult to cram over 100 new words and their definitions into your cranium but it is doable. Use memory tricks and little rhymes to keep those phrases in your head. Super long acronyms work - or for those who want to satisfy their poetic side, write haikus. For example, "the great word bombastic is / a cool adjective / meaning pompous and verbose." Set it to music and it's almosts catchy!
Do: Create flashcards of the vocabulary words that you're having a particularly tough time remembering.
Do not: Bother creating and illustrating your own vocabulary word trading cards. Apparently, they're not very cool and you'll just get laughed at. (Well, so I've heard...)
Hour 10: Your biggest enemy on SAT morning? Not an empty brain, but an empty stomach. You should probably eat. Low blood sugar is no laughing matter.
Hour 11 - 13: Hopefully, you chose to eat something energizing and filling because you are just now hitting the halfway point in this cram session. For the writing section, use your favorite number 2 pencil (Ticonderoga is recommended) and write your essay thoughtfully and logically. Write legibly and don't use slang, ya dig?
Hour 14 - 16: Now for the final part: the reading section. Heads up, literally: standardized test writers always choose the most unbelievably boring reading passages on random topics like fungal growths in forests and the importance of gravel. So try not to fall asleep - a valuable lesson this night will teach you.
Hours 17 - 21: Sit up straight and get ready to take your SAT practice test. Using either your practice book or this newfangled thing called the Internet, take a diagnostic SAT. The practice SAT, although long and tedious, will prepare you better than anything else we told you to do today. Sorry.
Hours 22 - 24: Prepare your breakfast for the morning, pack your snack, make sure you have all the things you will need and, most importantly, give yourself a pep talk in the mirror. Now go get 'em, tiger!
Upon completion of SCOllege Board's 24-hour SAT cramming session (not endorsed by the actual College Board), you're sure to ace the SAT, as long as you've supplemented this cramming session with weeks of SAT classes and study sessions (should we have said that in the beginning?). Good luck!
Katie Sint. Katie Sint is 5 foot 2 and her last name rhymes with "squint" which has lead to the creation of many Asian jokes. Katie likes Sour Patch kids, Iron chef, laughing, Bubble Shooter, The Office and naps. She plays volleyball and is a CAP junior. More »