Why You Should Always Attempt Mock Tests Before Taking SAT

 

How many of you will agree to enter the sea after cramming a manual on swimming? Taking the SAT exam without practice is no different.  The SAT is not like the school exams. The College Board creates questions that confuse the students. The students should understand the SAT pattern and identify strategies to tackle the questions. This involves a lot of practice.

The ideal preparation for the SAT starts with looking at the score requirements based on their university and course preferences. Most of the universities have their score requirements specified on their websites. The students should set targets that are above the 75-percentile requirement of the universities so that they are on the safer side.

The next step will be to take a mock test. This test will help the student understand the test structure and content and get a fair idea of where he or she stands. The student can either choose a College Board test or the free practice test from a reputed test prep company.  If you are taking one of the free tests from a test prep company, make sure that the standards match the SAT test. The non – College Board tests can have the following drawbacks: they may not have the right proportions of difficulty level, questions, content, and topics. Their score curve may not be dependable. The books, blogs, and seminars may speak a lot about the reading section. Unless you sit and cover five grueling passages in 65 minutes, you might not understand the gravity of the situation. Remember once you are done with the Reading, you have three more sections with just 5 minutes gap after almost every hour, So, SAT is a test of your endurance too. Knowing the difficulty level of each section, the time requirement, and the focus and patience that SAT demands, you will be in a better position to plan your preparation.

The next step is to decide the course of study based on the scores. A thorough analysis of the test score is necessary to determine the next step. If you are confident enough to bridge the gap between the current score and the required one, you may choose to buy a good SAT book. Keep in mind that the material you choose should have questions and tests similar to that in the actual SAT. The material should also have proper explanations for the questions. The strategies taught by the book should help you solve the questions and also manage time.

The other option is to enroll for a SAT course. Even in this case ensure that the materials mimic the SAT and the strategies deliver results. The teacher will not only ensure that you learn the concepts and strategies but will also guide you in developing a study plan. The study plan should help you to plan for SAT and also give enough time to prepare for APs or school exams. Don’t mind spending on the SAT prep course, because this one-time expenditure will ensure that you are done with the test as soon as possible. You can also choose a sat online prep based on your availability.

How does the study plan work? All of you will agree with me that there is no replacement for hard work. The study plan should reflect this motto. The study plan should include the pre-work that you have to do before the classes. Once a session is over, the study plan should include the drills you need to complete in those topics. The drills should be reviewed. Learning from the mistakes that you make is the first step towards success. Review every wrong question to see if you have not understood the concept or do you have issues with applying the strategies. Take remedial measures accordingly.

The study plan should also accommodate for the practice tests. After a few topics are covered, plan to take a full-length practice test. Your study should have enough tests included in the prep. Again, these tests can be from the College Board or what the books or the test prep course suggest.

 

Why should you take these tests in between the course?

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Many of you may feel like protesting when I say that you have to take tests even if only a few topics are covered. Your schools never ask you to do that. While the first test helped to familiarize with the structure and content of the test, these later ones reveal much more.

What are the benefits of taking these tests?

  1. Time Management – The SAT is a time bound test and is usually designed in such a way that the students don’t complete the test. The practice tests allow you to understand the time it takes to complete a particular question. These tests also help you identify the easy and the harder questions. You might want to finish the easy ones first and come back to the harder ones later. As a part of the time management strategy, you may choose to skip a few questions.
  2. What should you work on? – The onus does not end with taking these tests. A detailed score report and analysis of the test will help the students to understand what areas they are weak at and prioritize their practice accordingly. You need not spend hours on topics you are already good at. You can plan to address the gaps with targeted practice.
  3. Track your milestones– Part of your study plan includes setting targets and the SAT mock tests are a great way to measure your progress. These SAT mock tests online can also be an option you can explore.

To get the maximum benefit from these practice tests, you must mimic the real test conditions:

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  1. Take printouts of the question paper and the coding sheet. Keep pencils, erasers and calculator ready. Don’t circle your answers, rather shade your answers in the sheet.
  2. The room should be quiet. Avoid mobile phones or laptops. This is applicable for the post class practice too, also keep any SAT related materials outside your reach, at least you feel like cheating. Ask someone to keep timings on your behalf.
  3. Stick to the allotted timings per section. Don’t overshoot the break timings.
  4. You should be in a good physical and mental condition to take the test. If you are exhausted or hungry, you might not be able to concentrate on the test.
  5. Schedule the sat online practice tests in the mornings because that is when the Real SAT happens.
  6. Schedule the SAT mock test exams with enough time in between to learn and practice.
  7. Don’t take more than one test every day. It could be very tiring to take a three hours test. So, you will not have the energy to take another one on the same day. Also, every test has to be thoroughly reviewed and remedial actions taken before you go for another test. The frequency of tests could be increased to two per week as you near the exam dates.
  8. If you want to use some of the question papers for section wise practice for reading or math. But a mock test should be taken continuously. Taking two sections now and the remaining later will not exhibit your real performance. Take a sat math practice test or a verbal test separately during practice.

While doing a self-review of the test, since you know the correct answers already, check why did you miss it in the first go? This type of analysis will ensure that you do not repeat the same mistake in the next test.

Every exam has its challenges and SAT is no different. But as we saw in this article, a good study plan that includes time for learning, practice, testing, and reviews will ensure that your scores increase in leaps and bounds. After all, SAT is beatable. Every time that it is administered, a few hundreds of test takers end up scoring 1600.

 

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Are you a student of IGCSE or IB Board? The subjects you study are correspondent to your career aspirations or plans for further education. IGCSE core subjects will help you build a strong base for the SAT since they cover a significant portion of the SAT syllabus. So improve your grades by studying with the best tutors. Know More

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