The Night Before

Published Thursday, March 10, 2011 by Tarang

Sleep is a fickle thing. Some of us find it when we are least expecting it; often encountering this whimsical friend in the middle of the day. Some of us enjoy it for the maximum number of hours we get. Some of us do not want it as it impedes on our fun and frolic. Finally, some of us desperately crave it but are unable to get it because our brains are filled with thoughts and worries. This may be you, kiddies, on the night of March 11th. March 12th is the day you will face judgement, and if there is one thing you want to do before, it is to be well rested. Sleep is enhanced by two factors: relaxation and boredom. The first one is the one you want to focus on, although the second one can come in handy.

To relieve major stress, plan out your day before the test. Come home from school/activities, and make sure to relax a little. You have just worked hard at school and your extracurriculars. Try unwinding with some TV like re-watching the series finale of Greek. Eat some healthy snacks, preferably ones that will not give you a sugar rush the day before the test. Then make sure to keep your brain activity regular by doing some easy homework. You still have school on Monday, so don’t ignore schoolwork. However, focus on the subjects you like. This makes sure your brain is active before the test but not overly stressed. If you love Spanish class, try doing a small assignment for that class. Make sure to eat a timely dinner as well. The last thing you need is weird dreams from eating too late. After dinner, review some notes from your SAT prep manual. Do a few multiple choice problems, re-read some essays, or skim the test-taking strategies. Finally, before you go to sleep, make sure everything is ready for the next day, including the SAT Admissions Ticket, Photo ID, #2 pencils, calculator, snacks, etc. Hopefully, now you are rested well enough to go to sleep on time and without any worries on your brain. If you find yourself tossing and turning and dreading the exam, then focus on something else. Read a book for 15 minutes and then go to sleep; try to read something pleasant and without graphic imagery.

In the morning, wake up well before the exam and not feeling like P Diddy. You should have enough time for your morning routine: breakfast, bathing, dressing, making sure you have everything, and driving to the testing location. Also make sure to arrive early. Eat a full breakfast because it is a long exam, but avoid too much sugar (for sugar highs and lows) and fiber (for digestion). Make sure your breakfast is balanced with some fruits and dairy. Also, in terms of wardrobe, this isn’t fashion week at Milan. Wear comfortable clothes and make sure to have a jacket handy. Remember the old adage: dress for success. It actually works; don’t dress like a slob either. This just gives you the impression that the test is not important, so avoid arriving in pajamas and carpet slippers. The last thing you want is to be the person everyone is gawking at right before the test.

Last but not least, ask your friends the night before if they are taking the test at the same center as you. If they are, try to arrive together and stand in line together. This helps make the process more fun and allows you to share information and relieve stress. Don’t turn it into an SAT party, but don’t be too stressed either.

Hopefully, all this unsolicited advice has put your mind at rest. Just relax, review, and enjoy. In just a few hours, you will be done. Sleep beckons only those of us who are fortunate, and sometimes it is accompanied by its fair-weather friends, dream and nightmare. Try not to invite those friends- keep sleep all to yourself.


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