The ACT and SAT test dates are looming on the horizon, and many students are studying hard in hopes of obtaining scores that will support their academic future. It’s well-known that high SAT and ACT scores increase college admission opportunities, but doing well can also open up merit-based and guaranteed scholarship opportunities and even help students place into advanced college courses, helping to speed along their degrees.
For those who are hoping to reap all of the benefits that come with scoring well, strategic preparation is crucial in order to be successful. If you’re a student who wants to do all that you can to be ready when your test day arrives (or a parent who is helping your son or daughter prepare for the SAT or ACT), here are a few reasons why taking an ACT or SAT practice test is one of the best ways to achieve your goal:
ACT and SAT Practice Tests Allow You to Pinpoint Which Areas to Focus On
In order to develop an effective test prep strategy, it’s important to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Prioritizing the areas that need the most improvement will help ensure that you are ready to tackle the more difficult parts of the test. Scores from ACT and SAT practice tests can help steer your study efforts by illustrating where you’re likely to do well and where you show the most signs of struggle, and they can do so in a way that is granular and specific.
For example, if your score reveals that you got nearly every vocabulary/context question correct but missed quite a few of the questions analyzing grammar, allocating more time to brush up on the rules of the written language would be advantageous.
You Will Know What to Expect when You Take the Real Test
Taking an ACT and/or SAT practice test is a great way to prepare for what the real test will be like. While there are many sample tests and questions available online that will allow you to get a sense of the content and format of the actual test, taking an officially proctored practice test will also give you a sense of what the experience will involve.
Knowing what to expect both materially and procedurally can help you reduce any anxiety and better mentally prepare for your test day. You will be taking a similar test that unfolds within the same time restraints as the real one, and this mock experience can help shed light on test-taking strategies that can help you be successful.
For instance, if you are not able to finish a section within the allotted time, you can reflect on why you left some questions unanswered which can help you do better next time. As an example, many students linger on questions that they find difficult, resulting in leaving other, easier questions blank. Instead of getting stuck on something that puzzles you, it’s more advantageous to go through and answer the questions you do know so that you accumulate more correct points, and then return to the difficult ones after.
Additionally, if you take a proctored test with a test prep expert, you will generally receive personalized, detailed feedback on what you can do to raise your score from someone who understands the SAT and ACT inside and out.
Practice Tests Can Help You Assess Your Test Prep Progress
Taking multiple practice tests incrementally while preparing for the SAT and/or ACT can be an excellent way to analyze your progress. Your initial score can serve as a baseline to help you gauge which areas you should focus your study efforts on, while subsequent scores can help you track your progress and further adapt your study strategies to zero-in on the areas that could still use some fine-tuning.
Taking Both an ACT and an SAT Practice Test Can Help You Decide Which One Is Best for You
For states that mandate either the SAT or ACT, it may seem intuitive to only focus on the test that your state requires. That being said, there are some noteworthy differences between the SAT and ACT that may influence how you perform. For example, the SAT math section makes up 50% of the total score, whereas the ACT math section makes up only 25% of the total score. If English-related subjects come easy to you but math does not, you might score better on the ACT.
Taking practice tests for both the SAT and ACT can help you determine which version naturally harmonizes better with your skills. Even if you end up taking both because one is state-mandated, note that the SAT and ACT are both universally accepted by universities, and you can choose which score you submit with your college applications. When it comes to being awarded scholarships, the difference between a few points can often be the deciding factor between whether or not you have access to significant scholarship opportunities. This is why assessing which test is better and then fine-tuning your study strategy for that test is more advantageous, as you’ll increase your likelihood of impressing admissions agents as well as gaining access to better financial resources.
Preparing for the SAT and/or ACT can feel daunting, but you’ll feel much more confident and ready for your test day if you know what to study and what to expect. Practice tests can help you understand how the process works, what material will be covered, and where you need to focus your test prep energy. Additionally, they can also help you track your progress and can serve as a guide in deciding if either the SAT or ACT caters more to your skills and knowledge than the other. If you use this information to steer your study strategy, you should be well on your way to achieving a score that propels you further towards your academic goals.
Looking for Colorado ACT and SAT Practice Tests or Test Prep Courses?
Whether you’re looking for officially proctored practice tests, ACT or SAT prep courses, academic tutoring, or college admissions consulting, CollegeDrive is here to help you fulfill your greatest potential and achieve your academic goals. Our team of caring instructors will work with you to help you develop the skills and confidence that you need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Trusted by over 10,000 families, nothing brings us more joy than seeing our students feel proud about their own progress and achievements.
To discover more about how we can help you on your academic journey, please browse our services or get in touch today for a free consultation! We look forward to helping you find the right plan for your unique needs.