How to take a practice SAT
A practice test is not just another homework assignment. It is an important opportunity for you to get as accurate a picture as possible of your readiness to earn a score that will make you proud. Your results will help you make informed decisions about your prep schedule and keep your study sessions productive. And, thanks to the scan-and-score app from the College Board, when you take a practice SAT on paper, your personalized practice recommendations on Khan Academy are just a few pics and clicks away. Here are a few tips to make your practice test a success:
- If you’re taking the test on a computer, use a notebook or pad of paper for math problems.
- If you’re taking the test on paper, use the test booklet for all of your work (extra paper is not available on Test Day).
- Use a No. 2 pencil.
- Use a printed bubble sheet.
- Use an approved calculator (list here).
BONUS: Once you scan your answer sheet into the College Board app Daily Practice for the SAT, you can import your scores to your linked account at Khan Academy, and our system will recommend practice exercises in those areas that you need to work on most to maximize your score!In addition to your insightful, detailed score report from the College Board and personalized practice recommendations on Khan Academy, a full length practice test will give you insight into other areas that will be critical to your success on Test Day:
- Did you run out of time on any sections?
- Did you get nervous?
- Did you get hungry?
- Did you get thirsty?
- Did you get tired?
- Were you able to stay focused?
- Did you survive for four waking hours without looking at your phone?
- Eat a healthy dinner the night before the practice test, including slow-release energy carbohydrates (for example: rice, pasta, potatoes)
- If you are planning to print a practice test, print it out the night before and have it ready. You can find real tests HERE
- The night before, print the answer sheet found HERE
- Get a good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours)
- Wake up no later than 7am – that’s the way it will be on the Saturday morning of Test Day, so try to do it the same way for the practice test if you can!
- Eat a healthy breakfast (for example: juice, fruit, eggs, cereal, toast – nothing too sugary!)
- Again, consider using a real printed bubble sheet (download one here) – don’t just write the letters down on some random piece of paper or circle them on the test booklet. Remember, you can scan and score it!
- Use real paper for the essay – you’ll be writing by hand on Test Day!
- Number 2 Pencils
- Calculator with fresh batteries
- Water and Healthy Snacks on hand – your kitchen will not be next to the Testing Site!
- Timer if you can’t find someone to proctor
Location and Environment
- If possible, take it in a library - not in the comfort of home
- No distractions.
- Turn OFF your phone and leave it in your bag
- If you must use your phone as a timer, put it in airplane mode
- TOP TIP: You can also use Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy as your timer! Each practice test has a built in timer feature for each section – you can run the timer on the screen as you take the practice test on paper!
On Test Day, you will not be permitted to access your phone or any other electronic device at all except a calculator —not even during breaks—or your scores could be cancelled. So don’t do it during a practice test! You need to know what it feels like to be disconnected for these four hours.
- The SAT will begin around 8:30am, so do your best to start around then.
- NOTE: Just so you know to expect it, on Test Day, you are likely to be sitting quietly in a silent room of nervous students for a half hour or so before the test actually begins! You’ll be filling out forms and listening to instructions for part of that time. You’ll also sign a statement swearing that you are who you say you are.
- Allow an adult to proctor your practice test. If no adult can be found, then choose a friend who will take this job as seriously as you will!
- Don’t forget to write the essay – you need to know what it feels like to tackle this essay assignment after three hours of testing
- Give yourself exactly the amount of time indicated for each section
- Don’t give yourself a few extra seconds to fill in bubbles for questions you didn’t get to. If you do that on Test Day, your scores may be canceled
- Take Official Breaks: Take one 10 minute break after The Reading Test (Section 1) and one 5 minute break after the first part of the Math Test (Section 3). If you are writing the essay assignment, your break after finishing the second part of the Math Test may only be 2 minutes long. (Yes, you read that right!)
- Eat healthy snacks and drink water during your breaks
The Best Way to Score your Practice Test
- Download College Board Scan and Score App Daily Practice for the SAT
- Following the instructions in the app, take a photo of your answer sheet and send it to the College Board
- Link your College Board and Khan Academy Accounts (if you have not already done so!)
- Get personalized practice recommendations
Here are some useful questions to consider when reviewing your performance:
- Did you sleep at least 8 hours the night before the practice test?
- Did you wake up at least one hour before the practice test?
- Did you eat a healthy breakfast?
- Were you happy with your breakfast? Would you like to try out another kind of breakfast food next time?
- Did you start the test at 8:30am?
- Did someone proctor the test for you?
- Did you use a printed test and bubble sheet?
- Did you take it one sitting?
- Did you give yourself Test Day breaks (10 minutes after the Reading Test, 5 minutes after part one of Math Test, 2 minutes before starting the essay)?
- Did you drink water during breaks?
- Did you eat healthy snacks during the breaks?
- Did your snacks make you happy? Treat yourself during the breaks—you should only be eating healthy and happy-making snacks!
- Were you strict with yourself about the time? If not, why not?
- Did you leave your phone off for the duration of the practice test?
If you can answer YES to ALL of the above questions, then the chances are good that you have an accurate picture of what you’re currently capable of. If you answered NO, then you didn’t do everything you could to realistically assess where you stand.
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