You’ve done the prep!  Now here’s how  to optimize your performance on test day:

Two days before: Go to bed EARLY.  Teenagers are supposed to get 9 hours and 20 minutes of sleep per day.  Make it happen just this once! Try to spend an hour doing old redo’s* to refresh what we’ve been practicing. Read over personal reminders in your spreadsheet about your overall approach such as, “reread before you proceed” or “take your time” or “let go of problems that aren’t meant for you and move on” or "if it says xy-coordinate plane, you should probably DRAW an xy-coordinate plane". These are mostly different for each student.

One day before:  Listen to the FULL version of the test day meditation here After going through the checklist below, CHILL OUT.  DO NOT STUDY!**  Do something you enjoy -- something that relaxes you and puts you in touch with the present moment and your true self.  Maybe get some exercise.  Watch your favorite cheesy movie. Go to bed early.

*if you're not an AdeptPrep student and you don't know what that means: just do some of the problems you’ve done wrong before but now know how to do correctly

**if you insist upon studying, stop before 5 pm and only do redo’s and review.

Be prepared for incompetent proctors! E.g., one time a proctor read the directions for the regular SAT when the kids were supposed to do Math II, saying: "you have 65 minutes and you can't use a calculator.  Start!" The kids explained to her the error and it worked out. But, some kids had to start their regular SAT two-and-a-half hours late that day and they didn't get a bathroom break! So always bring extra food and something with which to entertain yourself.


  1. GPS directions to the test site; get the time estimate and put that in the calculation below for the morning of the test plan so that you can set your alarm for the correct time. It won’t matter that it’s painfully early because you got plenty of sleep on Thursday. Don't forget that the Metro and buses don't run as frequently on weekends, so ask your parents for a ride if possible.

  2. Print or find your ticket. Make a sandwich and check that you have all the ingredients for our breakfast plan (this might be a good time to ask your parents if they are on board to make your breakfast).

  3. Pack: A sandwich and a bottle of water!, your calculator with the program on it and fresh batteries in it; your test ticket and photo ID; pencils, eraser, sharpener, tissues, and a pair of headphones for music or a pleasure book in case your test starts late and you need to relax.

  4. Review this plan for tomorrow morning, filling in your times, and rearranging as you wish:

Action Time Estimate (min) Notes
10 min run (or some other way to get your heart rate up) 15 (5 extra because you need to put on your running shoes, etc)
10 min meditation 15 (do the short version)
Breakfast Eat a lot! Must include whole grains, protein, and fat. I favor whole wheat toast and eggs.
Shower to wake up
Do 2-3 math redo's To warm up the math muscle
Read a page of something 5 To warm up that part of your brain
Dress in layers (in case the temperature control on the weekends is messed up) I saw a girl who was wearing flip-flops bring socks once. That is preparation!
subtotal add up all the estimates so far
transit Arrive by 7:45
Set alarm for: I know! But it'll be worth it to arrive SO relaxed and ready!

DO NOT SIT through ANY break! Get out of the test environment and MOVE! Do some physical activity lie pushups or jumping-jacks to get your blood flowing and re-energize you.

Finally, REMEMBER that the test is like a video game: you get the same number of points for any monster you kill, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes. Guess (for the SAT or ACT) or Omit (for subject tests) on questions that you’re likely to make an error on or that are just too time consuming. Use your time and energy for ones you know you will get right first and then come back!

Find the easy way -- relax, don’t struggle.  Remember to try starting with C or making up a number. Don’t forget that some of the scariest-looking math problems are actually just reading comprehension problems and are totally easy. Use the program!  

A Song For the Road: