How important are SAT practice tests?

Most parents know that SAT practice tests are important when a student wants to get their best possible SAT score, but do you know how important?

Well, look at it this way: SAT tutors are supposed to be “the best” and get perfect scores all the time, so how many practice tests does an SAT tutor need to take?

Speaking from experience, I took twelve practice SAT tests before my first perfect score. It was a bit of a struggle to get there the first time, as you can tell!

The other SAT tutors I’ve worked with typically need between six to twenty practice SATs before they can reliably, confidently get a perfect 2400.

Does your son or daughter have the time and persistence to take twenty practice SAT tests? Probably not. We know everyone is busy these days.

Instead, let’s look at why practice testing drives score improvements and keep the best ideas to inspire us on future practice SAT tests.

The facts about practice SAT testing

The first thing to admit is that a full proctored practice SAT is quite long and takes a lot of time and energy from students - most kids probably shouldn’t try to take practice tests every weekend.

On the other hand, at Love the SAT, we believe that every student should plan to take a minimum of three practice tests, whether they’re in private lessons or group classes.

Since most kids won’t take more than one practice SAT per month, that means families should budget at least three months for SAT prep to prevent that “cramming” feeling.

Each practice SAT test is about 4 hours. We start the clock at 8:30 AM and typically end at 12:45.

Practice SAT tests are hosted at our office - it’s better to take them in a classroom than to print them off and try at home, where distractions abound.

As soon as the practice tests are over, we score the practice SATs on the same day for instant feedback on how each student is doing.

The specific benefits kids get from SAT practice tests

After years of administering proctored tests at Love the SAT, we’ve discovered that SAT practice tests are one of the most important components of effective test prep.

Here are just some of the many specific benefits that kids get from practice SAT tests.

Stress management:

The first few tests can cause a lot of anxiety, but when you’ve taken ten practice tests, the real SAT is a lot less stressful.

Time management:

Repeated practice SATs help students learn to budget time properly. This is something you can only truly learn through experience.

Energy management:

Energy matters as much as time does. Practice tests teach us to conserve energy, as students realize their focus ebbs and flows throughout the test.

Test-taking endurance:

Students build up the strength to take long standardized tests through practice. Just like running a marathon, we want to build up to the final challenge.

Realistic expectations:

No hiding our heads in the sand if we’re having trouble! Practice tests teach us what to realistically expect and prevent us from hiding from our weak points.

Current-score benchmark:

Practice tests give realistic SAT scores that tell tutors what to work on next. Bring your SAT practice test into your next private tutoring lesson for a customized learning experience.

Measurement of progress:

Compare today’s score to last month’s practice test - are you improving? If not, why not? If so, time to celebrate, and then keep studying!

Remove surprises:

Use practice tests to eliminate surprises on the day of the real test. The SAT is a “standardized” test, so repeated practice helps students develop “standardized” personal methods to win.

Save money:

A practice test with us saves about $50 over the price of an official SAT test. If you take 12 practice tests, like I did, that would save $600 over the price of “official” testing (that’s more than a month of FREE private tutoring in savings!)

Gain experience:

Each SAT practice test has over 220 questions, so students gain a lot of experience in a short time. Take 10 SAT practice tests? You are now 2200 questions better at the SAT. Now you’re starting to see things like a pro SAT tutor.

SAT essay practice:

Many students fear the SAT essay. Practice tests reduce the anxiety. If you “freeze up” on the practice essay, just bring in your questions to your tutor at your next private lesson. Problem solved!

Tutoring material:

Missed questions on practice tests are a great source of material for private lessons. There’s no substitute for having a friendly expert break down the source of your troubles and help you move beyond your old mistakes and bad testing habits.

Final thoughts on SAT practice testing:

You can tell that SAT practice tests are absolutely CRITICAL for all high school students. If you’re not taking these tests as part of your test prep; well, your college competition will be, unfortunately!

The good news is that test prep exists for this exact reason. There are entire teams of smart people who like working with high school kids to beat this test.

Here at Love the SAT!, each of our private tutoring packages includes practice testing.

SAT practice testing is also included in our SAT group classes.

Action steps to take today:

You’re probably already getting the FREE SAT email course, but if not, click here to learn why you should be.

Contact us if you have any questions or concerns!

And, as always, have a great day 🙂

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