How to Ace the SAT Practice Test?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Unidentified person writing in a desk.

How to Ace the SAT Practice Test?

How Many SAT Practice Tests Are There?

The SAT is a standardized test commonly used for college admissions in the United States, designed to evaluate a student’s academic readiness for college. To prepare for the exam, students often utilize the SAT practice test offered by the College Board to familiarize themselves with the test format and improve their skills in the areas assessed.

Students often ask, “How many SAT practice tests are there?” The College Board currently offers eight redesigned official practice exams.

The College Board announced in January 2021 that they would stop offering the SAT Essay after the test date in June 2021. The essay was originally a portion of the SAT that was optional, and many students already opted out.

Students who are presently signed up to take the exam with an essay until June will be given the choice to cancel the essay section. They can do this through their online account without incurring any modification fees, provided they make the change before the test’s registration deadline.

The SAT exam is divided into three main sections: Evidence-Based Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The Evidence-Based Reading section assesses your ability to comprehend and analyze passages from literature, history, and science. The Writing and Language section tests your skills in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, requiring you to revise and edit passages for clarity and coherence.

Meanwhile, the Math section evaluates your problem-solving abilities and understanding of algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Each section is designed to measure your critical thinking and reasoning skills, providing colleges with valuable insights into your academic potential.

The test begins with a 65-minute section, plus a 20-minute section makes up the reading portion of the SAT exam. This section’s test items are all multiple-choice inquiries that deal with either short or lengthy reading passages. In this section, students are presented with passages from literature, history, and science and are required to answer questions that test their comprehension and analytical skills.

Following the Reading section is the Writing and Language section, a 35-minute multiple-choice component. The multiple-choice questions assess grammar, use, and word choice by identifying and correcting sentence errors as well as strengthening phrases and paragraphs.

Lastly, the Math section comes next and is divided into two parts: the first part allows the use of a calculator and consists of 38 questions to be answered in 55 minutes, while the second part does not permit the use of a calculator and consists of 20 questions to be completed in 25 minutes.

This section has multiple-choice or student-produced response (grid-in) test questions. Number and operations, algebra and functions, geometry, statistics, probability, and data analysis are among the topics tested in this area.

In total, the SAT consists of 154 questions or tasks spread across all sections and has a total duration of three hours.

How To Calculate the SAT Practice Test Score?

Your two section scores, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math, which are graded from 200 to 800, combine to create your final SAT score. When evaluating your success in a particular area, universities will occasionally consider your section scores in addition to your overall score (they are all listed on the same score report).

Total SAT score 400–1600
Evidence-Based Reading 200–800
Writing Section
Math Section 200–800

An engineering school would prioritize a strong Math section score above a strong Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score, for instance.

Close up of a hand using a pencil.

Now, how to calculate the SAT practice test score? The College Board uses a conversion chart specific to each test to translate your raw score for a section—the number of questions you correctly answered—into the “scaled score” for that part in order to determine your SAT score. To determine your final SAT score, they combine these scaled scores.

Because each SAT exam is different, the College Board scales your raw score using a conversion table that is specific to each test. The scores are scaled to account for the test’s difficulty. Students may be able to omit one or two questions from an extremely challenging test and still receive an 800. On a simpler test, however, skipping one question could result in a score of 790 or 780.

In their Scoring Your Practice Test file, the College Board offers guidance on how to determine your section scores, along with a sample conversion chart.

Unidentified person writing in a paper.

Determine your Reading Test score and your Writing and Language Test score before calculating your SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section score (which is in a range of 200-800):

  1. Determine how many of your Section 1 answers were right (the Reading Test). False replies are not penalized in any way. Your raw score is the total number of correct responses.
  2. Turn to page 7 and find Raw Score Conversion Table 1: Section and Test Scores. Find your raw score in the “Raw Score” column, then compare it to the value in the “Reading Test Score” column.
  3. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for Section 2 in order to calculate your Writing and Language Test score.
  4. Add the results of the reading test to the results of the writing and language tests.
  5. Increase that amount by 10 times. This is your grade on the evidence-based reading and writing section.

To determine your SAT Math Section score (which ranges from 200 to 800):

  1. Count how many of the questions in Sections 3 (Math Test — No Calculator) and 4 (Math Test — Calculator) you answered correctly. False replies are not penalized in any way.
  2. Total the quantity of accurate responses you received in Sections 3 (Math Test — No Calculator) and 4 (Math Test — Calculator).
  3. To convert your raw score into your Math Section score, use the Raw Score Conversion Table 1: Section and Test Scores.

Add your evidence-based reading and writing score to your math section score once you have both. This result will be your overall SAT score.

Calculating your SAT practice test score is a crucial step in your test preparation journey, providing valuable insights into your strengths and areas for improvement. By understanding your score and using it to guide your study plan, you’ll be better equipped to achieve your desired SAT score and take a confident step toward your college admissions goals.

Which SAT Practice Test Is the Hardest?

Much like with the actual SAT, you might be curious “Which SAT practice test is the hardest?” By equating scores, the College Board ensures that every SAT exam, whether it is in May or October, is as equitable as feasible for all test takers.

So, let’s discover how equating works and which College Board practice test is the most difficult according to test takers.

The College Board uses a technique known as “equating” to account for variations in exam difficulty. This entails lowering the grade a student obtains for getting a certain quantity of wrong answers. It’s crucial to keep in mind that your score will always fall within a similar range for a specific amount of incorrect answers because test differences are not significant.

Student answering a text in a desk.

For instance, you would have been required to correctly answer every question on every section of the SAT in order to receive a perfect score. However, for the SAT exam in another month, students might still achieve a perfect score even if they missed one reading question.

It’s critical to keep in mind that equating differs from curving. Curving is a procedure that changes a student’s performance in the past based on how other students performed on the same test. Equating standards (the conversion table of correct to incorrect answers to score) were created along with the test and are not affected by how well students perform on it. You will receive the same score regardless of how well or poorly other students do on the test.

Some SATs may require students to use equivalency scales with fewer incorrect answers in order to achieve their desired score but with simpler questions. Other SATs may be scaled more liberally, but only because those tests have tougher questions that the test’s creators anticipate students to have trouble answering.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that the test is divided into English and Math components. Some tests have harsher English scales and more forgiving Math scales. Similar to this, tests might have English and Math components that are slightly harder and easier, respectively. Whichever test a student finds most challenging will depend on the subject they have the most trouble with.

It’s also crucial to understand that your individual strengths and weaknesses may play a major role in what makes the SAT practice test challenging for you. It is, therefore, most beneficial to concentrate on practicing as much as you can within your SAT preparation session in order to comprehend your test score prior to taking the actual SAT.

Focus on correcting your errors, understanding SAT math concepts, and taking more practice math sections if you see that you’re constantly missing questions in the math section.

No matter how challenging a test is, there are a few things you can always manage. Never leave a question blank on the actual SAT when you are taking it.

The same approach applies to your practice SAT examinations, but be sure to note which ones you made educated guesses on. If you make an educated guess but fail to make a note, you might skip a question that you need assistance with.

There appears to be a broad consensus among students that Test #3 is the most difficult of the official practice exams, according to online forums. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that a challenging practice exam can be an excellent tool. Because they are aware that the problems will be difficult even with plenty of time, students can complete the test without being timed.

It’s important to remember that the SAT is designed to assess a wide range of skills, and each practice test is intended to reflect the content and format of the actual exam. Rather than focusing on which test is the hardest, it’s more beneficial to use practice tests as a tool to identify areas where you need improvement and to track your progress over time.

By taking multiple practice tests and analyzing your performance, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the SAT with confidence. Students can also practice the exam with a tutor or parent to help them answer challenging tests.

Which Official SAT Practice Test Is the Best?

If you are getting ready to take the SAT for the first time, it is normal to feel stressed and anxious. Nothing could be more nerve-wracking than not knowing how the actual situation will play out. There are plenty of SAT practice exams, which is wonderful news. The bad news is, making the wrong decision about which to take could have disastrous consequences.

Students listening to a lecture in a room.

Which official SAT practice test is the best? The College Board, the company that created the SAT itself, offers the greatest SAT practice exams. Since they are most like the real thing, they help test takers learn how to pace themselves and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Khan Academy is another excellent and cost-free resource for the SAT practice tests.

Don’t think that SAT practice exams are only for test takers who have never taken the exam before. It’s a good idea to take SAT practice exams whether you’re getting ready to take the SAT for the second, seventh, or twentieth time.

You should begin preparing for the SAT around three months before the exam date, according to Khan Academy, a non-profit educational company founded in 2006 in collaboration with the College Board. Khan Academy also adds that you will have adequate time to study and become familiar with the exam’s material within the three-month frame.

However, you can start SAT preparation earlier than three months. This is highly encouraged if you want to achieve a high starting score and be admitted to a selected institution.

Remember that the SAT test is a strategy-driven test. In other words, it’s not enough to know the answers to the questions; you also need to be able to respond to them. The SAT has 154 multiple-choice questions and lasts three hours. You only have about 70 seconds to respond to each question, according to the calculations.

It’s recommended to take multiple practice tests to get a comprehensive view of your skills and to track your progress over time.

How Do You Practice For the SAT?

How do you practice for the SAT? The SAT practice test is not only another piece of homework. This is an essential chance for you to determine how prepared you are to receive a grade that will make you proud. Your findings will guide your preparation plan decisions and help you make the most of your study sessions.

Female student holding her books while smiling at the camera.

Here are some pointers to help you ace your practice exam:

  • Use a notebook or pad of paper for math problems if you’re taking the test online
  • Use the test booklet for all of your work if you’re taking the test on paper (additional paper won’t be provided on test day)
  • Use a No. 2 pencil
  • Use a printed bubble sheet
  • Utilize an authorized calculator

Location & Setting

  • If at all feasible, study away from home in a library where there won’t be any interruptions.
  • Put your phone in your luggage with the screen off.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode if you must use it as a timer.
  • Khan Academy’s Official SAT Practice can also be used as a timer. Every part of every practice exam has a built-in timer, which you can use to keep track of time as you complete the test on paper.


You won’t be allowed to use any other electronic device on test day besides a calculator, not even during breaks, or your scores can be canceled. So refrain from doing it on a practice exam! You must experience what it’s like to be cut off for these four hours.

  • Try your best to get started around 8:30 am when the SAT will start.
  • NOTE: Just so you know what to expect, you will probably spend the half-hour or so before the start of the test sitting quietly in a quiet room full of anxious students. Part of that time will be spent completing forms and paying attention to instructions. You’ll also be required to sign a declaration affirming your identity.
  • Let an adult administer your practice exam. If no adult is available, pick a friend who will take this responsibility as seriously as you do.

Important Pieces for Advice During the SAT Practice Test

  • Write the essay; you must experience what it is like to complete this task after three hours of testing.
  • Don’t give yourself a few more seconds to fill in the bubbles for questions you didn’t get to. On Test Day, scores can be canceled if you do that.
  • Give yourself exactly the amount of time stated for each section.
  • Take official breaks. Take a 10-minute pause after Section 1 of the Reading Test and a 5-minute rest after Section 1 of the Math Test (Section 3). After finishing the second Math Test, you may only have a 2-minute break if you are writing the essay assignment.
  • Consume healthy food and water when taking breaks.

Everyone’s baseline level of comfort with the SAT’s structure and material varies. The degree of the test’s difficulty ultimately hinges on your level of preparation. If test-taking anxiety is a problem for you, be sure to take lots of the SAT practice tests, carefully correct your errors, and discover techniques that can help you lower your stress levels.

AdmissionSight also offers SAT/ACT tutoring if you would like to have personalized and in-depth instruction about preparing for the SAT. Furthermore, AdmissionSight can also guide you throughout your college preparation journey. Book an initial consultation with our experts to start.

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