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What If I Run Out of Practice SATs?

As of this writing, the College Board has only released 6 real SATs and 2 real PSATs.

You can download them here.

As I’ve discussed elsewhere, real practice tests are absolute gold for your prep program, so you should use these tests carefully and thoroughly.

But what happens when you run out of these tests? Third-party tests, for reasons stated in a previous article, are poor substitutes for real tests, and they should only be used for targeted practice to review your weak points. Here are some ideas on what to do when you need more SATs:

Redo Previously Completed Tests

Don’t underestimate the value of redoing tests you’ve already completed. Sure, the score won’t mean anything, but reinforcing what you’ve learned from previous tests and seeing if you can answer the questions after a bit of a hiatus from the test can be valuable. If you get a question wrong for a second time, for example, you know that you’ve found a topic or question type that needs additional review.

SAT Question of the Day

One place to look for additional questions is the SAT Question of the Day App. The mobile app produced by the College Board releases a new SAT question every day. There’s no web version of this resource, unfortunately, so you’ll be somewhat hemmed in by the format of the app, but it’s a good resource for consistent practice. They also have question archives, so you can go through all the questions they’ve released that you missed.

But until the College Board releases more tests, we’ll have to cobble together a number of resources to best simulate real SAT questions. Here are the best substitutes I’ve found for real SAT questions:

SAT Writing & Language

Use ACT English tests to practice for this part of the SAT. The question types, grammar, and rhetorical skills tested are very similar, even if the format is a bit different. If anything the ACT English is a harder version of the SAT Writing test, so do these tests timed (45 minutes) for best results.

You can find some practice ACTs here. If you need more, a quick Google search should yield more sources of free ACT tests. As with SATs, make sure you use REAL ACTs released by the test makers and never any tests created by third-parties.

I don’t recommend using ACTs for Math or Reading practice – the tests are too different, so you won’t benefit much from these tests.

SAT Math

Third-party test prep books are actually pretty decent for extra math practice, so any prep book that you bought for Math should help here. Khan Academy questions can also be pretty good practice. As always, don’t take any scores these books give you too seriously. Just use these tests for extra, targeted practice and review.

SAT Reading

This is where things get a bit tricky, since simulating real SAT Reading questions is difficult to do. The best I’ve come up with is using Old SAT Reading sections for Reading practice. Here are some old SAT tests released by the College Board:

2005 SAT

2007-2008 SAT

2009-2010 SAT

2012-2013 SAT 

REMEMBER: These are OLD SATs! Do not use these as full practice tests! The Math & Writing is too different from what you’ll see on the New SAT. But you can use these tests for Reading practice as detailed below.

And if you run out, you can always Google “Old SAT tests” and find some more.

When using these tests, skip the 5-8 questions at the beginning of the test – “Sentence Completions” that essentially test your vocabulary skills. You probably should also skip any “short passage” questions that usually come right after the sentence completions. Focus, then on medium, long, and dual passages.

The Old SAT Reading questions are quite similar to what you’ll see on the New SAT, with a few significant differences:

  • No Two-Part (Evidence) questions
  • More focus on vocabulary, which you won’t see as much on the new test
  • The Old SAT has many more “line reference” questions than you’ll see on the New SAT.

Caveats aside, Old SAT Reading practice is as good as you’ll get to practice for the New SAT since only the College Board is truly equipped to produce passages and questions of the right quality and difficulty.

Robert Schombs

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!

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2 comments on “What If I Run Out of Practice SATs?”

  1. Ankur

    Hi Rob,

    I am currently a sophomore in high school, aiming to take the full SAT this October. In the eighth grade, I took the new SAT and scored 1480. Since then, I have been scoring between 1560-1590 on timed SAT practice tests (I am aiming for a full-score).
    As I have two months left till I take the SAT, and am not taking any specific test prep courses (I’m just self-studying and practicing), how would you suggest I prepare to best utilize the remaining time? Please let me know.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Thanks and Regards
    Ankur Samanta

    Reply
    • Robert Schombs
      Robert Schombs

      Wow, those are amazing results! At this point, I’d just do what you’re doing, making sure to keep up the consistency. You don’t need to study absolutely every day, but you definitely want to maintain that consistent rhythm. If you get any questions wrong, really attack it during your review — tear it apart word for word so that you can completely understand the question and the mistake you made on it.

      Reply