The essentials: taking the sat

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The SAT can easily overwhelm a high school student. Because it's a nationwide test that is an integral part of college admissions, it can be scary, but it does not have to be.  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
The SAT can easily overwhelm a high school student. Because it's a nationwide test that is an integral part of college admissions, it can be scary, but it does not have to be.

Each week, The Essentials offers practical advice on life for teens.

taking the sat

The SAT can easily overwhelm a high school student. Because it's a nationwide test that is an integral part of college admissions, it can be scary, but it does not have to be.

Malika Johnson, the director of college counseling at Augusta Preparatory Day School, gave a few tips on preparing for the SAT:

YOUR FIRST SAT: "It's a very individual thing; do not do any test prep until you've taken your first SAT," she said.

It is best to see whether you do well without the help of practice courses and other materials first. Otherwise, you will not know whether you did well on your own or with the help of a guide.

"The chances you need a course to train you are slim to none,'' she said. "I'm a fan of rapid test prep. If you obsess about the SAT, you won't do so well."

RESOURCES: If you need help with the SAT after taking it the first time, you can find numerous test-preparation books at local bookstores and free SAT practice tests at www.collegeboard.com.

GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP: Don't stay up late the night before the SAT. You will do a better job the next morning if you are well-rested.

EAT BREAKFAST: Test day is not a day to skip breakfast; protein is highly recommended. Mrs. Johnson also advises bringing a snack and water because of the length of the test.

FOCUS: Do what you can to shut out the other people in the room. You will do best if you are playing your game and not someone else's.

KEY DATES: Tests are offered Nov. 3 (register by Oct. 2) and Dec. 1 (register by Oct. 30).

For more information, check with your college counselor or www.collegeboard.com


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