I really thought about this: is a good SAT score more important than “a special someone or a romantic evening”? Sometimes its hard to tell. Initially, I thought you were being a little harsh. Sometimes I think I should be able to take a night off before a test or a full day work. But I always pay a price. And with a month before the test, I’m glad to see that you have your priorities straight.
But for those who don’t…
The last month before your test is crucial. You need to be honing your skills, mastering strategies, and practicing with a stopwatch to practice pacing. How many practice tests have you taken? I hope at least four, maybe six. If not, then you should be doing that every weekend until the test. Go to a quiet setting away from distractions, time yourself to replicate the test conditions, and take the whole test. Don’t take long breaks. Spend the time so that you are ready on test day.
But maybe I am getting carried away. Maybe this “special someone” is really special. Maybe, dare I say, you love this “special someone.” Maybe your friends have plans for “romantic evenings,” and you are feeling left out. Shouldn’t this be reason enough to take one night off?
Nope. And I’ll tell you why.
For one, if it is truly someone you love, they should love you enough to know that getting a good SAT score is important in order for you to move on, for you to go to your dream school, for you to better yourself, and for you to ensure that you have more opportunities in the future. If this person can’t understand that…Well, what can I say?
Two, there are 365 days in a year–sometimes even 366. Each one wonderful and beautiful, full of potential for romance. Today, Valentine’s Day, is not imbued with eros more than any other day. Decide to have a romantic night whenever you want. Buy flowers, go out to dinner, meander through a park–literally, whenever you want.
Third, if it’s so important, why didn’t you plan for it? You should have a study schedule. A plan to work through a book or, if you use our test prep software, a plan to follow. If not, look at a calendar, mark all the days you have responsibilities, mark the times and days you want to have fun, and mark all the free time you have left. Now, divide up the days and hours so that you can complete the test prep book, complete the course, complete the homework, and complete the practice tests.
Ultimately, you can avoid all these problems. Find a person who loves you enough to let you succeed, embrace romance everyday with your “special someone,” plan, plan, plan, and finally, reward yourself. If you are studying a lot, you need to take breaks. Plan rewards for yourself week-to-week, day-to-day, hour-to-hour. By doing so, you won’t feel like you have to escape or run away from test prep–you’ll already have a built in escape route. If you spend five hours taking a test then spend a couple hours having fun (I recommend jumping in the ocean instead of seeing a movie–but that’s irrelevant). Find some way to reward yourself for your hard work. Think of them as little goals: “I will study for an hour and then I’ll spend ten minutes on Facebook.”
Whoa, sorry about that Bo. I didn’t expect to go on and on like that. Well, the whole reason that I wrote you this letter was to pass along a quote that I thought you might like. I hope that it inspires you to continue on your path.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum