Why Take Practice Tests for the ACT & SAT?

As a person who has been stupid enough to run a half marathon without much training, I can tell you that training and practicing for the main event is very important!  

We recommend that students prep and practice before they take an official standardized test.  Test prep is training for the real test, and practice tests allow you to practice the real thing.

Test prep tutoring will help students learn all of the content and testing strategies needed for tests like the ACT or SAT. Granted, everyone is starting at a different level, so it is important for students to take diagnostics first to determine their baseline score.  Knowing what content is missing initially is an important part of test prep. Our goal as a test prep company is to fill in those content gaps and to help the students feel confident in their test-taking skills.

Think of test prep as the conditioning of the mind to get it appropriately molded for the ACT/SAT (instead of the body ;), and Practice Tests as the actual practice (usage) of that conditioning.  

When a student takes practice tests consistently, this allows the student (prep company, parent, etc.) a way to keep track of progress as well as any issues they may still be having while taking the full-test. The ACT and SAT are long tests. Three and half hours of sitting with only about 10 minutes of break time can be taxing if your student is not used to it. 

How often should your student take a practice test?

The simplest idea is that more is better! However, for our particular test prep program, we recommend students take practice tests at least once every two weeks.  During those two weeks, students will have had 4 sessions (balanced for each subject) as well as homework that also involves portions of practice tests. If a student does 2 months of test prep, we recommend at least 8-10 practice tests before their official test date. 

How should your student take their practice test? 

It is important to create the same kind of testing environment your student will have when taking their official test!

First and foremost, make sure that the practice test your student is taking is an official retired test. If they are not working with a test prep company, Official ACT/SAT prep books usually come with practice tests included. 

  1. Take your practice test in a quiet and well-lit room (a private room if you have to take it at home).

  2. Have a clock or wear an analog or digital wristwatch (just in case the room you are taking the test in does not have a clock).

  3. Take your test at a table, and sit on a sturdy chair.  Please do not take it on your couch or in a super comfy chair. Sorry, kids, the real test day doesn’t feature comfy chairs.

  4. Have a proctor (family member or friend) who can make sure you are keeping appropriate section timing and breaks. If you are unable to have a proctor, use a timer to keep you on track.

  5. Approach the practice test like it is the real thing!

It is important to note that JUST taking practice tests alone will not do much.  If your student is not learning anything new content or strategy wise, they will yield the same results over and over again.  If your student wants to boost those ACT/SAT scores, we can help!

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