Free SAT Practice Tests with Explanations

Free SAT practice tests are essential for SAT prep. Taking a practice SAT at least once weekly is your best preparation. While taking practice tests is essential, it is not enough. After you take your practice SAT, an equally important part of your SAT prep includes reviewing your practice test. You can do this either by yourself as self-prep or with a tutor. In any case, there are free resources at your disposal so you can prep to do well on your next SAT.

Below are the tests themselves:

By the way, you can print out each test you take (about 65 pages of questions per test); view them from a screen (be sure to block out all other apps/texting/calling so you won’t be distracted); or use the Official SAT Study Guide.

Free SAT Practice Tests

To scroll back to a line reference is a hassle you might not want to deal with. For that reason, most of my students prefer a printed copy, whether printed from these PDFs or the Study Guide. In the end, you’ll want to find out what works best for your circumstances.

Scoring Your Free SAT Practice Tests

To score your tests, be sure to check this post. It will show you how to download and use the free phone app Daily Practice for the SAT by the College Board. While you will spend over 3 hours taking a practice SAT (just the multiple choice part), you will need only about 3 minutes to score your test. Be sure to mark your answers clearly, use natural lighting (indoors, near a window), and keep your paper unwrinkled. Also, to keep your phone steady, use a support such as a yoga brick or book while you scan your answers. Keeping your camera steady while scanning your answer sheets is more important than you’d think.

Reviewing Your Free Practice Tests

This is the most important action for you to take other than taking  your practice tests, whether working with a tutor or by self-prep. Though this process can be frustrating, your frustration can be minimized by keeping a few guidelines in mind:

First, take at least a half hour break between your test and review

Don’t take the SAT and then move on directly to review. Give yourself a break. I’d recommend at least 30 minutes to 24 hours between taking a practice test and reviewing it. Prepping for the SAT is a marathon event, not a sprint. As much gumption as you might have to rock your SAT, please practice restraint and patience for all aspects of your SAT prep.

Even if you’re supremely dedicated to improving your score, it’s best to do a little bit of prep every day or a few days per week rather than complete an extremely long session once weekly. You wouldn’t favor a once weekly lengthy session over daily practice for learning a language or a musical instrument. Why would your SAT prep be any different?

While taking your test, use Triage to discover your weaknesses

Be sure to use TRIAGE. This will help you review not only the questions that you missed, but also the questions you might not have understood. It could be you had difficulty arriving at an answer and would like to learn a better way of figuring out the correct answer. Triage will help you do this.

Over time, develop your own method for reviewing math questions

For the math portion, decide upon a system for review. Some students will read the answer explanations carefully and slowly. Then, they’ll copy down all the steps for work at least once, if not twice. After that, they’ll review it, making sure they understand why every step was taken. Lastly, they’ll take a break from their math review and later try all the wrong/triaged questions to see if they can answer them correctly without notes.

You can develop your own math review method. Most importantly, know that a passive review will not suffice. Don’t be like BOB: Bob thinks he can stare at math explanations and then execute these methods under the pressure of a real test. NO! Don’t be like BOB! By the very least, be sure at least to work out your math questions without notes after you’ve seen a correct explanation/method.

For the WALT (Writing and Language Test), learn the rules of grammar

This could be understanding passive voice and how to spot it on the test; or, it might mean learning the rules of thumb for who/whom, its/it’s, there/their/they’re; lastly, it might mean learning the College Board’s penchant for succinct writing and their distaste for redundancy.

If you want to practice the essay portion

Below are links to the essays for your free SAT Practice Tests. Please keep in mind that fewer and fewer schools require or even recommend the essay portion of the SAT. Admissions offices know that your generation is over-tested. Anyways, you’ll have to write at least one essay, sometimes two or more, for each selective college application. Even if you use the Common App, you’ll likely have to write an extra essay per school. The big exception to this is the bulk application to schools within the UC system.

The point here is that you’ll want to check the list of schools you’re applying to. Then, check the policy of each school regarding the essay for the SAT. If you don’t need the essay for any of your schools, then do not register for the essay.

Answer Sheets for your Free SAT Practice Tests

This is the single most important file to print out. For each test there are 5 answer sheets. There is one for each section except for the Math No Calculator. For this particular section, there are 2 answer sheets, one for the multiple choice answers and another for the math grid-ins.

So, each time you want to take a practice SAT, you’ll want to print out a new set of answer sheets. Be sure to keep them flat. That’s the biggest complaint of my students wanting to score them with the APP. If the pages are wrinkled or folded, you might not be able to scan them and  then have to enter the answers manually into the APP. Don’t waste your time: keep the pages flat. Use a folder or binder to keep them flat if you must.

Download your answer sheet here.  Download a new set (5 pages/set) for each of your practice tests.

If You Want Answer Explanations

While taking your practice tests is the most important first step, reviewing your test is just about as important. Granted, taking practice tests will allay most fears you might have of the test and inure you to its length. Yet, active review is what helps you learn from your mistakes. So, here are the College Board’s answer explanations for your practice tests:

Wrap up

Now you have all the tools you need to take practice tests on your own, score them within minutes for free, and review them on your own or with a tutor.

Should you want or need help with any parts of the SAT prep process or help with college applications, please set a session.

Thanks and good luck!

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By Martin

Martin McSweeney is a National Merit Finalist, Pomona College Graduate, and member of MENSA. He has worked at the Center for Talented Youth (Loyola Marymount University campus); Upward Bound (Harvey Mudd campus); various test prep companies; and Whittier High School. Now, Martin helps students of all abilities improve their relationship with math.