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College Corner: What to expect on test day

[media-credit name=”Kylie Bell” align=”alignright” width=”300″]College1[/media-credit]Beep, beep, beep…you rub your eyes, reach over to hit your alarm. Just five more minutes you think to yourself as your body prepares to drift back into the pleasant REM cycle. Until it hits you, today is not just any day; it is Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) day!

You jump out of bed, grab a stale Pop Tart from the pantry and wish you wouldn’t have stayed up until 2 a.m. last night, cramming from the SAT book you bought months ago but just cracked open for the first time.

Hopefully this paints a drastically different illustration of test day than the one you will experience.

So you know the basics of preparing for a test but you have never studied for a test as important as this one. So where do you begin? Hopefully this article will answer these questions and put your mind a little more at ease when it comes to the SAT (I will be talking about the SAT instead of the American College Test (ACT) simply because it is still the more popular choice, however much of the information also applies to the ACT).

As with any major test, preparation should begin months before test day. There are many ways to study for the SAT, ranging from less costly options such as self studying from an SAT review book ($16.41 on Amazon) to hiring an independent consultant to help you prepare (multiple thousands of dollars).

There are obviously many options in between these two extremes to be explored such as SAT prep courses in a group setting, and independent online courses. However, not every student learns the same and the best option for one person may not be as beneficial for another. I would be happy to explore these options with students who are interested in learning more about test preparation.

The best advice I can give in regards to the SAT (or ACT) is to relax. Get a good night sleep and eat a high protein, healthy breakfast the morning of.–Michelle Warkentin, Academic Advisor

In order to register for the SAT test you must visit the following website: and click ‘Register Now’, you will need to create a College Board ID and password. When you register online you will be able to pick the date and testing site of your choosing. To create the most accurate profile you will need to know the following information:

1. Your email address

2. A parent’s email address

3. A parent’s birth date

4. Your household’s income

5. Your parent’s highest educational degrees

6. Your most recent class rank

7. Your average grades in all subject areas

8. What classes you’ve taken and which year you’ve taken them

9. Credit card information to pay for the test

I often have terrified students come into my office questioning me about what the test day will be like. First off, it is important to get directions to the high school you signed up to take the test if you are not familiar with the site. Be sure to arrive early in order to go to the restroom, find your classroom, and get situated before the test begins.

Students will need to bring their admission ticket and photo ID with them in order to be admitted. Make sure you bring a No. 2 pencil and do not bring your cell phone with you into the testing room. It may be a good idea to bring an extra calculator and batteries in case yours malfunctions. Below are some specific details about the test:

The SAT is made up of 10 sections:

–A 25-minute essay

–Six 25-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)

–Two 20-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)

–A 10-minute multiple-choice writing section

Total test time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

The best advice I can give in regards to the SAT (or ACT) is to relax. Get a good night sleep and eat a high protein, healthy breakfast the morning of. Give yourself an adequate amount of time for driving, etc. and let your mind relax. The night before is not meant for cramming, some students like to review a little bit while others find that time spent not thinking about the test is much more beneficial.

Remember, much of the preparation for this test has been done in your past 3 years of high school through the classes you have taken. Also, the first testing session is a good time to get the kinks out and figure out what the test is all about. My personal recommendation is to take the test 2-3 times.

Students should take it once your junior year, again during the summer and once more at the beginning of senior year. Below are the next available test dates:

– Test date: March 8, late registration deadline: Feb. 24

– Test date: May 3, registration deadline: April 4

Please feel free to contact me via email: @[email protected], or come to my office.

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For more opinions, read the Feb. 13 article, La Copa Mundial 2014 en Brasil.

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