Here’s why you need to keep your own time during the SAT:

The best proctors are probably the ones you don’t remember. I remember the proctor from my 6th SATvividly.

The problems started when he was reading the directions. He told us he couldn’t find chalk to write the end time on the board in the front of the gym, so we should use the clock on the wall. Then he pointed out the clock: high up behind the basketball net. I crouched down and cocked my head, staring up in the direction the proctor was pointing, and sure enough there was a clock up there, though I could barely see it because it was covered by a protective metal grating.

And, it turned out that the clock was in pacific time. (I was taking the SAT in New York.)

The time-zone switch turned out to be just one of many timing flubs the proctor made that day, the most egregious of which I now refer to as “the big time lop.” Midway through Section 5—for me, a double passage in the Critical Reading section—the proctor stood up at the front of the gym and cleared his throat.

“Uh, excuse me,” he said confidently. “That time on the board is wrong. You have five-minutes less than that.” And with that, he sat back down in his chair and resumed reading his newspaper, leaving us with five minutes to finish the section rather than the twelve minutes I thought I had.

I was hysterical.

Have I convinced you to bring your own (beepless) watch to the SAT?

You must read Stacey Howe-Lott’s “method” for keeping time while not wasting precious brain juice.

Here’s an audio clip about “the incident” from The Perfect Score Project.


The SAT Yellow Brick Road

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Each series also includes links to SAT resources and articles that I highly recommend.