Taking Your Practice SAT Test

Download Your Test Before Taking Your Practice SAT Test

Taking your practice SAT Test involves using a Real Practice Test. These are the real tests provided by the College Board. All other tests are only approximations of the types and difficulty levels of the questions found on a real SAT.

You can download your first practice test from Test #1 near the top of this link: 

Real Practice Tests

You can decide whether or not to print out the test itself, but be sure to print out your answer sheets. There are 5 answer sheets for each full SAT. These you will want to print out to use while taking your practice test regardless whether you print out the questions. Treat your practice SAT answer sheets as carefully you would your answer sheets for your actual SAT. That way, thereíll be less confusion and possibility of mis-scoring your answers.

Oh, and if you already have The Official SAT Study Guide (TOSSG), those 8 tests are the same as those in the link. So, if you have TOSSG, you neednít download the test. Still, though, print out your answer sheets.

Scoring Your Practice SAT Test

Once you sign up for sessions, I’ll provide you with specific instructions about using a Google Sheet for your answers. Then, I’ll supply you with an answer key so that you can score your test in minutes. It’s quick and easy and takes the guesswork out of scoring your SAT.

Protocol for Taking Your Practice SAT Test

Take the practice test in the morning after a good nightís sleep and a good breakfast. Youíll want to replicate test conditions as much as possible. This means you will want to seek seclusion in a room where you will be undisturbed for the duration of the test. Again, practice like you want to perform. Donít make excuses for why you didnít do well on your practice test. Do as well as you can. Part of this means taking your preparation as earnestly as you would take your actual SAT. No matter where you are on your test prep journey, you want an accurate gauge of where you are right now. Wherever you are is fine.

Timing, Eating, and Taking Breaks: Protocol for Your SAT

Time yourself: each section of the test will show you the time allotted for that section. Use only that time. If you have an accommodation, you can use your extra time.

For the SAT, you will be allowed two breaks. Your first break is for 10 minutes after the Reading Section. Then, you have a 5-minute break after the math no-calculator section. 

Be sure to use your breaks. Stand up and leave the room. Donít turn on any electronic device. Walk, breathe, drink water, talk to yourself or a friend (real or imaginary).

Standing up, walking around, taking a sip of water and, if possible, looking through a window to the outdoors are all great activities to clear your mind in a short time during your breaks.

You are allowed water and snacks for the real test. Be sure to make the snack a power bar of some type. Something inconspicuous, not making a lot of noise or leaving a lot of crumbs. Eat it only during breaks, out of the testing room. Keeping your energy levels stable will help you on the test. You are young and probably hungry more often than youíd like to admit. You have permission to eat during the test. Just during breaks, though.

What About Your Score on Your Practice Tests?

Donít worry about fluctuating scores on your first few tests. This is normal. Over time you will most likely notice a general upward score trend. You are looking for progress, not perfection. Also, thereís no law stating you have to share all the details of your practice scores with your frenemies friends. Keep it confidential. These practice test scores are for your eyes only. If some nosy person insists on more details, you can blame me and tell them I wonít give you your scores on your practice tests. Deflect the intruders.

taking your practice sat test

Important Details for Taking Your Practice SAT Test

Doodle. Be sure to make diagrams and drawings when they help you. The more work you can do on paper and on calculator, the better. Accuracy and clear thinking are helped by doodling with a pencil (even in the Verbal portion of the test) and calculating with a calculator (on the math-calculator section).

For the math section you are allowed to use your calculator, use your calculator as if you are paid to do so. You cannot guess how many times students have made mistakes doing single digit multiplication in their heads. Also, use parentheses as you would a seatbelt when driving. For clarification on this point, ask me during your next session.  

Youíre more than likely a math mortal, so show your work. In the extremely rare instance you make a simple math mistake, you wonít be able to find it during a review if you donít show your work.

You improve by learning from your mistakes. If you cannot see your mistakes, this process becomes more difficult. So show your work.

Basics of Triage for Taking Your Practice SAT

Use triage marking: when you encounter a difficult question or one you guessed on, please mark it so we/you can review it during your next session. Even if you get the answer right. This way we can work on improving your score on your next test.

Basically, there are two types of questions you want to review so you can improve: questions you answered incorrectly and questions you didnít quite understand. For the latter, you mightíve guessed or taken too many steps in your process. We want to address both types of questions so that you can improve. So, please mark questions you found difficult or didnít understand.

If a question is taking up too much time, let it go. Put an answer down and move onto the next question.

Last Tip!

Finally, answer every question. Even if you are unsure of your answer or the question, put down an answer. There is no penalty on the SAT anymore for guessing. So, youíve nothing to lose and you have at least a 20-25% chance of guessing correctly for most questions. You want to practice answering all the questions on your test. 

Nowís the time for you to put these steps into practice while taking your practice SAT test. Good luck!


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.