Lesson No. 2: Preparing to Train Your Brain


Fuel Your Brain

Fueling your brain and body for competitive testing is no different than fueling your body for athletics. Hydrate.

Dehydration begins sooner than anyone recognizes within their bodies. Making sure you are well hydrated before and during study and testing times is necessary. If you are drinking coffee before your test, hydration is even more important. Do not underestimate the importance of drinking enough water and drinking more water if you are drinking coffee also.

Along with hydrating, you’ll want to put good food in your belly the evening before and morning of testing. Some prefer carbohydrates, others prefer protein, but really, your body needs it all. The best scenario is that you are eating a well-balanced meal every day and that your body and mind are performing at maximum ability. Consider training regimens of professional and Olympic athletes. How important is this testing scenario to you?

mornings are usually the best time for your brain. You will likely schedule your SAT for the morning. So build this routine now! Don’t wait. Set aside at least fifteen minutes every morning for a quality breakfast (yogurt, eggs, multi-grain toast, coffee….) and brain training. Try to replicate the testing environment and your testing morning as closely as possible in your home. If you were training to run the 100 meter, you would eat well, hydrate and train on the best track you can find. Training your brain for competitive testing is no different. Do you have a quiet room in your home or elsewhere where you can set up a desk and chair?


Exercise Your Body and Your Mind

Our training focus in this workshop is your mind, yes, but your mind will perform only as well as your body will allow it. If you are not engaged with a regular sport or exercise regimen, add a daily walk into your daily routine. Do some jumping jacks in the morning. Raise your heart rate a little each day. It’s also a good way to clear your head between testing sessions. 


Pack Your Equipment

What was one of the first things you did when you made the swimming, basketball, football, lacrosse… teams? You purchased your equipment. You probably bought a bag to keep it all organized so on those days when everything seems chaotic, all you had to do was grab your bag and dart out the door. Why would competitive testing be any different?

Have you ever borrowed a pencil or pen from a friend and found that it was more comfortable to use than what you used before? Do you prefer an analog watch or a digital timer? What kind of pants, shirt, socks and shoes are the most comfortable for sitting in a hard seat for an extended time? It might seem trivial at first glance, but the equipment and uniform you wear is important to making your testing environment the most comfortable you can make it. Why not cut down on as many potential morning-of stressors as possible.

Test Day Checklist

  • Bag or backpack: We strongly encourage you to have a specific bag just for SAT Testing. We also recommend having all your materials purchased and stored in your bag way in advance. Yes, it might seem dorky to have special SAT Testing pencils, but you wouldn’t believe how many testers start their mornings stressfully because they can’t find a No. 2 pencil. 
  • Admission ticket.
  • No. 2 Pencils with erasers: Literally test them out. Get a variety of widths. We recommend the Dixon Tri-Conderoga Triangular #2 Pencil. Everyone’s hands and fingers are different and there are a variety of pencils to fit different hand types. Spend a little time finding the one that fits you best.
  • Watch without audible alarm.
  • Water, energy drink or coffee, snack, gum.
  • Comfortable clothes, socks and shoes: We suggest sweatpants, comfortable T-shirt, zip up sweat shirt, well-fitted socks and slides.

On test day, you won’t be able to control everything. You can’t choose what the room looks like, what the testing monitor says or what the people around you do. You can control what you eat, what you pack and what you wear. You will likely be nervous and maybe even a little overwhelmed. Building a comfortable preparation regimen will make testing day more comfortable. It will be something you can count on.