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.
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.
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.
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:
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.