After three hours of testing your head starts to droop, questions you’d find easy on practice suddenly seem ten times harder, and you’re fed up with the mere idea of an essay. Why is it suddenly so hard? You’re probably suffering from SAT Test Fatigue.

You only have so much mental energy, and on testing day, at the very minimum, you’re spending three hours testing- possibly more, if you are taking the SAT Essay or any extra sessions. This is a long time to test for, and many test-takers run the risk of running out of energy part-way through the test. SAT Test fatigue especially rough on those with extended time. So, what can you do to stay sharp all the way through the day?


1. Take Care of Yourself

If this seems over-repeated, it’s because it’s true. Your body can’t make the energy and focus brain chemicals if it doesn’t have the resources to do so. This means getting a full nights sleep the week be fore the test and eating full, balanced meals, full of protein and vitamins. Taking care of yourself will help you feel better and have a deeper well of energy to draw from.


2. Stay Calm

Nothing will burn through your energy resources quite like panic. Breathe deeply, and keep yourself level. The test is the test. It is not tied to your personal worth. If you find yourself imagining an increasingly grim future, interrupt that train of thought, take a couple of breaths, and bring yourself back to the present. Even if the SAT Test fatigue is getting to you, you can treat every section like its your last and gently push yourself forward.


3. Practice the SAT Beforehand

The more you practice beforehand, the less energy you have to spend getting used to the SAT’s format in the moment. While more targeted practicing, like using our SAT Grammar or Math guide can be incredibly helpful, you shouldn’t forget to practice taking the SAT all the way through on your own as well, so you can get used to testing for that long. It will also give you a better idea of what can be causing your SAT Test fatigue.


4. Make Good Use of Your SAT Breaks

On the SAT, you’re given one ten minute break after the reading section and one five minute break after the no-calculator math section. It’s not a lot of time, but you need to take advantage of them. Plan your snacks carefully. Do some stretches. Look into the middle distance and think about something other than the SAT Test. Using this time to recharge your batteries is crucial to avoiding SAT Test fatigue. It’s not time to rehash what you could’ve done better, it’s time to get ready for what is yet to come.


5. Have an Experience to Look Forward To

If you’ve got nothing to look forward to, the entire testing day can just seem like a drag. Arrange it so that some of your friends can hang out afterwards, or that you can visit a restaurant you like later that evening. Make it so there’s some fun experience you have to look forward to after the SAT. Even if it’s just as simple as calling someone you’d like to hear from, having something you can look forward to can help combat the frustration and irritability that comes with SAT Test fatigue.



That’s all! Now go forth and stay sharp all through that SAT! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.

Share This