Preparing for the Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT involves plenty of steps and processes.
These include taking an SAT diagnostic test, creating a study schedule, taking practice exams and doing plenty of revisions.
The SAT diagnostic test is an exam you take at the start of your SAT preparation process to know your strengths and weaknesses and what you need to do to get the scores you want.
The results of your diagnostic test can give you an idea of how well you are currently scoring on the SAT and which parts of the exams you have difficulties with.
If you don’t take the diagnostic test, you’ll have a harder time studying effectively for the SAT since you don’t know how much progress you need to make and in which areas.
Once you have the result of your SAT diagnostic test, you can create a study timetable that can help you focus on your weak areas, put enough time to review the other sections and take practice tests.
Like the diagnostic test, the SAT practice exams let you know if you have prepared and studied enough to get your target scores.
The results of these mock exams can tell you if you need to modify your study schedule so that you can focus on the areas you still need to work on and achieve your target scores come test day.
Getting the Most Benefits From Your SAT Practice Tests
Since the SAT mock exams play a crucial role in helping you get high scores on the actual test, you have to know how to make the most of each one you take.
Below are some of the best tips you can follow to maximize every practice test you take:
1. Take only official practice tests.
If you are enrolled in an SAT preparation program provided by a trusted review center, you can be sure they administer mock exams similar to the actual test.
Because of this, you know what questions and problems to expect during the actual SAT and have a good idea of how to answer and solve them. This, in turn, can help reduce a lot of guesswork and boost your confidence on test day at the same time.
However, if you want to take SAT practice exams on your own at home, be careful about the ones you choose. Not all the materials you can download for free on the Internet are similar to the actual test.
Fortunately, some websites provide the best SAT practice tests for free.
These include the College Board, which writes official SAT questions. Their mock exams provide the closest experience to taking the actual SAT.
Other websites where you can download good-quality SAT practice tests from include Khan Academy and Mc-Graw Hill.
2. Answer the practice tests on paper.
Although you can take SAT practice tests online, it is best to print them out and answer them on paper.
Since the SAT is a pencil-and-paper exam, practicing on paper prepares you for the actual test-taking experience. Additionally, it can help you with your pacing.
Also, since you’re printing the questions, print out the answer or bubble sheet. Avoid writing your responses on any paper or circling the letters on the booklet to get the most from this test-taking experience.
Lastly, use paper to answer the essay because you’ll be doing the same on the actual SAT exam.
3. Prepare your test-taking essentials.
Since SAT mock exams are practice runs for the actual test, take this as an opportunity to prepare for all aspects, including organizing the items you need to bring.
Make sure you pack the following for your practice and actual SAT:
- Two or more number 2 pencils
- A working calculator that meets SAT specifications, preferably with fresh batteries
- Bottled water and light snacks
If you can’t find someone who can act as a proctor for the mock exam, bring a timer.
In case you don’t have a timer, you can use your mobile phone but put it on airplane mode.
4. Take the practice exam in a similar SAT testing condition.
The SAT won’t take place in your living room or a coffee shop. As such, avoid taking your mock exams in these places.
If you have a quiet kitchen or home office, you can take the practice exam in any of these rooms.
Go to a library if your home does not have a distraction-free area. Keep in mind that the real SAT will take place in a quiet room, so you want to get used to this condition.
Consider asking your friends or classmates to take the exam with you since you will be with other examinees during the actual test.
Whether you have a volunteer proctor or not, make sure you follow the time constraints specified in each section of the exam.
And even if you are taking only a practice test, don’t forget to take a break after each section.
During the actual SAT, you are given a 10-minute break after the reading exam and a five-minute break after the first part of the math test.
You will get a two-minute break after the second part of the math test before you proceed with the writing section.
5. Apply the SAT test-taking tips you learned.
During your mock exams, apply the tips, techniques and tricks you learned to help you ace the SAT.
For instance, manage your time well. Focus on finishing a section within the time limit and avoid slacking off or being too lax on timing.
Don’t spend too much time on questions you are unsure about. You can skip and return to them if you have time later.
Lastly, don’t leave any items blank. There is no penalty for guessing, so if you have no idea what the answer is, make a guess since you might get lucky.
Review your test results to make the most of all the SAT practice exams you take. Study your incorrect answers to understand why you got them wrong.
Take note of answers you keep getting wrong as well and find ways to ensure you get the correct ones during the actual test.
Find out which areas need the most work and work on them. This is the only way you can improve your score from one practice test to another and achieve your target goals on your SAT test day.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.