It’s normal to feel stressed and anxious if you are about to take the SAT for the first time. Nothing can be more nerve-racking than having very little to no idea of how the real deal would go. The good news is that there are many SAT practice tests. The bad news is that choosing the wrong ones to take could lead to disastrous results.
The best SAT practice tests one should take are those from the College Board, the maker of the SAT itself. They are the most similar to the actual test, allowing a test-taker to learn to pace and realize strengths and weaknesses. Another good and free source of SAT practice tests is Khan Academy.
Refrain from assuming that SAT practice tests are only for first-time test-takers. For as long as you are about to take the SAT, be it for the second, seventh or twentieth time, it’s still a good idea to take SAT practice tests.
Continue reading if you are about to take the SAT.
Below, we will talk about an assortment of SAT practice tests that a soon-to-be test-taker like you should include in your preparation. By the time you reach the end of this article, you will have a better idea of which particular SAT practice test you should take for an impressive test score.
Practice Makes Perfect
According to Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 in partnership with the College Board, you should start gearing up for the SAT about three months before the test date. It says that this will give you enough time to study and get comfortable with the test content, too.
But if you don’t want to risk it, you may prepare for the SAT earlier than three months. This is especially true if your goal is to get a high initial score and gain admission into a selective school
Going back to the subject matter of getting comfortable with the SAT test content…
The SAT is a strategy-driven test.
So, in other words, it’s not enough that you know the answers to the questions — it’s also a must that you know how to answer the questions. The SAT is three hours long and comprised of 154 multiple-choice questions. Doing the math, you only have around 70 seconds to answer each and every question.
It’s because of the sheer importance of having the right test-taking strategy why there are tons of SAT hacks on the internet. It’s for the same reason, too, why there are many SAT practice tests out there.
Benefits of Taking Practice Tests
Some SAT practice tests come free of charge — you can download many of them online, including the official SAT practice tests themselves, without spending any money.
There are also those that come with SAT test prep books and online courses. Needless to say, the vast majority of them are not cost-free.
While the more the merrier, the availability of lots and lots of SAT practice tests, free and paid alike, can make it challenging for a test-taker like you to decide which practice test you should opt for exactly.
Fret not because this article will help you make the right choice. Below, we will talk about 10 SAT practice tests. Some of them you can download without shelling out any money, while others you can purchase online.
Either way, there is no denying that taking these SAT practice tests will let you enjoy these perks:
- Identification of strengths and weaknesses. The SAT is divided into two sections (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math), not to mention an optional Essay section. Taking SAT practice tests will let you identify the things that are keeping you from getting a score high enough to get you admitted into your college of choice. Needless to say, it will allow you to focus more on your weaknesses during the preparatory phase.
- Get a feel for the SAT. Are you taking the SAT for the first time? Then no one can blame you for being in a nervous wreck. After all, your SAT score will have an impact on your college fate. By taking SAT practice tests, you will experience what it’s like to take the real thing. This will make you feel less anxious, enabling you to concentrate so much better. The more you take SAT practice tests, the more confident you can get.
- Improved time management. As mentioned earlier, you have about 70 seconds only to answer each of the 154 multiple-choice SAT questions. Thanks to SAT practice tests, you will learn how to use your time wisely. This is most true if you take them timed, which is how the SAT is taken. Paired with enough test-taking confidence, having improved time management can increase your chances of getting your SAT score goal.
Downsides to Practice Test-Taking
Alas, there are also a few downsides to taking SAT practice tests, but only in certain situations.
It can be tempting to take free SAT practice tests several times because, after all, many don’t cost a thing. However, this is something that you should avoid at all costs.
Otherwise, you may end up experiencing burnout. You don’t want that to happen because it can have an unfavorable effect on you when it’s time to take the actual test.
Using SAT test practice tests the wrong way can keep you from getting the score of your dreams. This is most true if you don’t spend enough time reviewing the results and pointing out what you did wrong.
You may also end up with a gigantic hole in the pocket if you don’t know how to use SAT practice tests the right way, especially if they’re the kind that comes with a price tag.
Before we proceed to the next topic, let’s answer this question some students are too shy to ask…
How Often Should You Take SAT Practice Tests
Generally speaking, it’s recommended for a student to take an SAT practice test once or twice a week. This should be done for about a month prior to the test date. It’s a good idea to take SAT practice tests under actual test-taking conditions, which means that it should be timed instead of untimed.
As the name suggests, an SAT practice test is a simulation of the real deal. This means that it has pretty much the same types of questions that you will see on the SAT booklet on the test date.
What’s really nice about taking SAT practice tests is that it allows you to have some kind of firsthand experience with taking the SAT, minus paying $47.50 (or 64.50 with the optional Essay section) or without the resulting score recorded by the College Board and sent to the college or universities you apply to.
However, it doesn’t mean that taking SAT practice tests will surely result in an impressive SAT score.
It’s not enough that you take an SAT practice test one to two times a week and timed, too. It’s also a must that you review your performance after every practice test to determine your weak spots. And after identifying them, you should do your best to strengthen those areas before you take the next SAT practice test.
Needless to say, simply taking SAT practice tests, even the ones that come straight from the College Board itself, will not help you get a high score — you should use it to deal with things that can keep you from acing the SAT.
Speaking of SAT practice tests from the College Board, let’s get to the heart of this article!
10 Best SAT Practice Tests
And now it’s time to talk about the reason why you’re here, the answer to the question, “which SAT practice test should I take?”
Well, there are many SAT practice tests you may take. However, not all of them can help you get your SAT score goal — taking the wrong practice test could even cause you your standardized test downfall!
Worry not because we have listed 10 of the best SAT practice tests that you may give a try. Some of them are free for you to access, while others require you to spend some cash.
Without any more ado, let’s check them out…
Official SAT Practice Tests
These SAT practice tests bear the word “official” for nothing — they are from the College Board, the organization that made and administers the SAT.
It’s because of this why, if you want to feel what it’s like to take the SAT, you should take no practice tests other than these official ones from the College Board itself.
As mentioned earlier, there are 10 official SAT practice tests available. It’s a good idea to take all of them. Just make sure that you stick to the suggestion above, which is to take a practice test once or twice a week only to avoid burnout.
- Cost: Free
- Number of tests: 10
- Pro: These official SAT practice tests make gearing up for the SAT easy on the pocket as they are cost-free.
- Con: Some students find the included answer explanations insufficient in some instances.
Khan Academy’s Sat Practice Test
A free teaching resource online, Khan Academy has partnered up with the College Board to provide test-takers an assortment of tools that they could use to ace the SAT.
Some of the helpful tools the website offers are SAT practice tests. Right now, there are a total of eight SAT practice tests that you may choose from.
What’s nice about going for any of the practice tests by Khan Academy is that you can enjoy a personalized experience, based on your previous SAT score. It also lets you track your progress, which is why logging in is required.
- Cost: Free
- Number of tests: 8
- Pro: Due to Khan Academy’s partnership with the College Board, its practice tests are close to being official.
- Con: You will have to create an account for feedback and progress tracking, although it’s cost-free.
The minute you visit the website of CrackSAT.net and scroll down, you will realize the fact that there are lots of SAT practice tests to download and answer.
On the website, you will come across the official SAT practice tests coming from the College Board, plus tons more from various sources.
One of the best things about the practice tests available at CrackSAT.net is that some of the files you can download at no cost are categorized into different categories. For instance, there’s algebra and advanced math.
- Cost: Free
- Number of tests: Hundreds!
- Pro: Everything on the site, including practice tests from test prep books, can be downloaded for free.
- Con: With so many SAT practice tests available, it can be confusing to determine which ones you should take.
Prep by Ivy Global
Like CrackSAT.net, Ivy Global also offers the official SAT practice tests by the College Board and many others — some of them are made by the website that provides educational services itself, while others are from different sources. Besides SAT practice tests, the website also offers a handful of study guides.
Are you going to take the optional Essay section? Then make sure that you check out Ivy Global’s sample essay prompts and essay practice tests, too.
- Cost: Free
- Number of tests: Over 30
- Pro: It’s the site to visit if you want to take the official SAT practice tests and a bunch of other ones.
- Con: The available practice tests are not that many, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
Every practice test that you can download free of charge on MajorTests.com comes with a score card and explanation at the end.
This means that you will find it easier to identify your weak points before you take the real deal. However, many have noticed that a lot of the questions are based on old SAT questions, although they are still very helpful.
One of the best ways to impress admissions officers with your SAT Essay is by having a stellar vocabulary. Majortests.com got you covered, for it has 10 word lists, each one containing 100 important words.
- Cost: Free
- Number of tests: Over 50
- Pro: For as long as it’s on the site, you can download it without creating an account or paying.
- Con: Some of the questions are in formats commonly seen in the old SAT but not anymore in the new SAT.
The Official SAT Study Guide (Second Edition)
Earlier, we talked about the 10 official SAT practice tests that you can download from the College Board’s website without shelling out any money.
If you cannot get enough official SAT practice tests, you may get your hands on the Official SAT Study Guide — it has 10 more full-length official SAT practice tests that you can use to your advantage.
Alas, you will have to fish around $10 out of your pocket if you want to own this paperback. The practice tests, by the way, are all in the old format, but nonetheless helpful.
- Cost: around $10
- Number of tests: 10
- Pro: The paperback is from the College Board itself, so you can rest assured that the practice tests are official.
- Con: Unlike the official practice tests on the College Board’s site, the ones in this book aren’t free of charge.
Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide
For 80 years now, Barron’s has been around helping students ace all sorts of standardized tests, the SAT included.
It’s due to this why it doesn’t come as a surprise why many consider its SAT Premium Study Guide their go-to book not only to get their hands on review instructions but also various SAT practice tests.
The book contains five full-length SAT practice tests. To help you get a good score during the practice tests, a step-by-step review guide by experienced teachers is around. Besides the five practice tests in the book, there are two more online.
- Cost: Around $30
- Number of tests: 7
- Pro: The book comes with a number of in-depth review materials that help make taking the SAT less daunting.
- Con: According to some, some of the questions, especially for the Reading section, are harder than the SAT.
McGraw-Hill Education SAT Elite
Is mathematics your weakness and the thought of getting a 200 on the Math section, which is the lowest possible score, terrifies you?
Then consider buying the McGraw-Hill Education SAT Elite. That’s because many experts agree that the prep guide’s presentation of math concepts is rather strong.
Besides coming with a total of eight SAT practice tests, the book also comes with a complete SAT course online. Alas, it carries a price tag of almost $100! The good news is that it comes in a cheaper Kindle version.
- Cost: Around $100 (paperback) and around $16 (Kindle)
- Number of tests: 8
- Pro: McGraw-Hill, the maker, has over 100 years of education experience, and its math guide is good.
- Con: Unfortunately, many can’t help but notice that its Evidence-Based Reading and Writing concepts are weak.
Cracking the SAT (Premium 2020 Edition)
First things first: Cracking the SAT is from the Princeton Review, a well-known company that offers standardized test preparation courses and practice tests, although it’s not associated with Princeton University.
The purchase gives you access to a total of eight SAT practice tests — four in the book and four more on the internet.
One of the best features of Cracking the SAT is that its answer explanations are thorough, which you can use to deal with your weaknesses before the test date arrives.
- Cost: Around $20
- Number of tests: 8
- Pro: The explanations included are detailed enough, thus allowing you to take the real deal with confidence.
- Con: Some students may find the answer explanations too wordy, which may leave them bored or exhausted.
SAT Prep Plus 2021
When SAT prep courses and practice tests are being talked about, it’s very much likely for Kaplan to be mentioned.
It’s due to this why the company’s SAT Prep Plus 2021 is included on this list of SAT practice tests you should take. The book is recommended for first-time test-takers and also those with low baseline SAT scores.
The book grants you access to two full-length SAT practice tests and three more on Kaplan’s website. Online, you can save your practice tests to allow you to keep track of your progress during the preparation phase.
- Cost: Around $40
- Number of tests: 5
- Pro: It helps simplify SAT test-taking, which is especially beneficial for first-timers in a nervous wreck.
- Con: Many agree that the book fails to tackle some of the more complex aspects of the SAT.
Just Before You Take an SAT Practice Test
SAT practice tests allow you to have a good idea of what it’s like to take the SAT without taking the actual test. Because of this, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, thus giving you the much-needed chance to work on your various weak spots until it’s time to take the real deal.
Above, we discussed some of the best practice tests you can take before the test date arrives.
Some of the ones we talked about are free, while others not so much. If you are on a tight budget, the good news is that the College Board itself is offering SAT practice tests at no cost. To date, there are 10 official SAT practice tests you can download from the site of the developer and administrator of the SAT.
Besides going for costless SAT practice tests, you may also opt for paid ones. Just remember that you should use SAT practice tests, whether free or not, to identify your weaknesses so that you can improve them before the test date. Otherwise, using SAT practice tests as part of the preparation process will be futile.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.