SAT Practice Tests
At Top Test Prep, we stress the importance of completing as many official practice tests as possible, and not just for diagnostic purposes. Doing practice tests is one of the best ways to prepare for the real one and improve your scores. This is true not only of the SAT, but also of the ACT, the SSAT, the ISEE—every standardized test, in fact. Lots of practice tests will raise your familiarity with the test and your level of confidence, two factors that are crucial for success.
The first thing to remember: use only official practice tests. This means tests released by the organization that administers the test in question. Official practice tests can be found in the study guide or prep book published by the testing organization: in the case of the SAT, the College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide contains ten.
Take your official practice tests under official circumstances, or as near to them as possible. Don’t do half the test now and half later; don’t allow yourself breaks other than the ones you’ll have on test day; don’t snack throughout the test; and don’t do the test late at night or whenever else is convenient. Take your practice tests at the time and on the day of the week you’ll take the real one—8 a.m. on Saturday for the SAT. Follow all of the rules for test day—no cell phones, for example—and either time each section rigorously or have someone else time you.
Practice tests will raise your familiarity with the test and familiarity will raise your confidence, which is extremely important. Practice tests will make you more familiar with not only the content and common types of questions, but the rhythm and feel of the test as well. Standardized tests, and perhaps the SAT most of all, need to be learned, and the primary thing to learn is timing and how to pace yourself.
So: do as many practice tests as you can, and you’ll improve your score with each one. One of the best reasons to start prepping for your test as early as possible is so that you have plenty of weekends available for practice tests.