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Preparación para el SATs

So, you’re thinking about taking the SAT or the PSAT, but you’re not sure you’re ready. Naturally, you’re nervous. What to do?

Don’t panic. The following tips can help you take control during the days leading up to the test, manage the pressure during the test, and prepare for a successful test taking experience.

Prepare
First and most importantly, know what to expect on the test. Take practice tests. That way, you can see what the test questions look like. By answering practice questions, you will also learn the areas of the SAT that you’re already good at and note the ones that are giving you trouble.  They can be general (math questions) or more specific (quadratic equations). Taking stock of your strong and lousy subjects lets you know what you don’t have to worry about and those areas that will demand more studying.

Now, face your weak spots... and face them again. Practice the toughest material. Master it and congratulate yourself when you do. If you still have questions, or need additional incentives, get help. Books available at most book stores, private tutors, or preparation classes are all options for students looking to get an edge on their SAT preparation.

Plan
The best test takers ease off on the intensive preparation work as test day approaches. You want to be relaxed and ready on the day of the SAT. Don’t be afraid to give yourself some time off if you are feeling a little burned out.

To avoid last minute tension, travel to the test location a day or two before the test and check it out. Map out the easiest, quickest way to get there. You will have great peace of mind if you know that all the little details — pencils are sharpened, calculator’s batteries are charged — are completely in your control before the day of the exam. 

Finally, don’t practice on the day before the test. Go to a movie, exercise, and get plenty of rest. It’s in your best interest to save up your physical and mental resources for test day.

Relax
Relaxation and stress control are critical to successful test taking. Exercise
Physical exercise is a great way to stimulate both your mind and body and improve your ability to think and concentrate. Ironically, many students get out of the habit of regular exercise because they’re too busy preparing for exams. But even a little exercise helps reduce the stress and frustration associated with studying for an important exam like the SAT.

Exercise is a natural high. Unfortunately, some students resort to less-than-natural stimulants to try to enhance their performance on the SAT, but stimulants make it hard to retain information. You may stay awake, but you probably won’t remember very much. Mild stimulants such as coffee and colas can sometimes help since they keep you awake and alert. On the downside, though, they can lead to agitation, restlessness, and sleeplessness. You know your tolerance for caffeine best.

Succeed
Believe it or not, there are ways of lessening your stress while you’re taking the SAT.

Keep moving forward. Don’t get bogged down in a difficult question. You don’t have to get everything right to get a great score on your SAT. So don’t get stuck on a question that is going nowhere even after you’ve spent a lot of time on it. The best test takers know when to eliminate answer choices and make educated guesses.

Keep breathing! Weak test takers tend to share one major flaw: they forget to breathe properly as the test proceeds. They start holding their breath without realizing it or they breathe irregularly. Improper breathing hurts confidence and accuracy. Just as importantly, it blocks clear thinking.

With what you’ve learned, you’re ready to take on anything that the SAT throws at you. You can deal with any tension or stress. You’ve prepared. You’ve planned. You’ve relaxed. You will succeed. Good luck.

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