The new SAT is officially here, which means that a lot of the old SAT practice material out there isn’t very helpful anymore. In order to study effectively, it’s important to use practice tests that test the same strategy and content as the SAT. With the recent SAT overhaul, this means turning to new practice material.
Official College Board tests are the gold standard when it comes to test prep materials. Here, you’ll find free links to all the official New SAT practice tests, essays, answer keys, and scoring instructions, along with tips and strategies on how to use them.
You might notice, however, that there’s not much official prep material available. If you’re looking for more legitimate practice problems to work with, you’ll find helpful alternatives to the official practice tests towards the end.
Free Official New SAT Practice Tests
These following tests are the only free official practice tests for the redesigned SAT. If you need preparatory material, these practice tests are the best things you can use.
In order to prepare effectively for the SAT, you want to use practice problems that test the same content, in the same ways, with the same timing restrictions as the actual test. If you use sub-par practice materials, you may be doing yourself more harm than good by preparing for things that won't actually help you on the SAT - this just wastes your time and leaves you underprepared, even if you study hard. Actual practice tests from the College Board meet all of the criteria I listed above because they're written by the makers of the SAT.
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Practice Test 8:
How to Use Official New SAT Practice Tests Most Effectively
With a limited number of official SAT practice tests available, you'll want to make sure you use each and every practice problem as effectively and as efficiently as possible. Follow these steps to get the most out of the official tests:
Mimic Official Testing Conditions
You need to use official practice tests because they're as close to the real SAT as you can get. In order to get the most out of them, you should also recreate real SAT testing conditions as best you can.
To do this, you should:
- Take each test straight through, in a single sitting if possible. The SAT requires an extended period of intense focus - the more you practice these marathon testing sessions, the better off you'll be on test day.
- Time each section carefully. Many students have issues with timing on the SAT - if you give yourself extra time (even a couple minutes) on a practice section, you might think you're performing better than you actually would on test day.
Even if you can't take a whole test straight through, make sure you time each section appropriately
Do a Post-Mortem After Every Test
The whole point of investing time and energy in SAT practice is so that you can learn from your mistakes and improve your score. If you do a ton of practice but never figure out where you're messing up, you scores won't go up - it's as simple as that.
If you want to know exactly how to analyze your practice materials, check out our guide on the best way to review your mistakes on the SAT.
Don't Use Them All at Once
With only eight official practice tests, you're limited when it comes to optimal practice materials. As such, it's important to pace yourself and use the official tests wisely.
This means only moving on to the next practice test after thoroughly reviewing your mistakes from the previous one. You may even want to re-do tough questions (after a waiting period) to see if you can figure them out after reviewing the material.
What Are Your Other Options for SAT Practice Materials?
These tests are a good place to start, but you could run out of practice material quickly if you have an intensive study plan. Here are some other things you can do to get your hands on quality study material:
Use PSAT Practice Tests
The PSAT is made by the College Board (the maker of the SAT) and closely resembles the new SAT. It's not a perfect match, but it will be very similar to what you see on the actual test. You can find a complete list in our guide to PSAT practice tests.
Get an SAT Prep Book
You should have the same concerns with SAT prep books that you do with free online prep materials: you want to make sure they’re as close to the real thing as possible so that you can study effectively. If you choose to get an SAT prep book, make sure you purchase a highly rated, legitimate resource.
You can start by checking out our guide to the best SAT books - it's updated regularly so you know you're getting the most up-to-date recommendations.
Use Other College Board Resources
The College Board has other practice material available besides their complete, official practice tests. You can check out individual practice questions on their website for the math, reading, writing & language, and essay sections - they're all official.
You can also check out College Board-approved practice problems through Khan Academy. Although this is a great resource, keep in mind that there are problems with just relying on this service to prepare for the SAT.
Use Unofficial Free Tests (With Caution)
Unofficial free tests can be good resources for students who will be doing a lot of prep and require supplementary materials. There are a few things to be wary of when you look for unofficial tests:
- Free test prep materials, by virtue of being free, are often lower quality than paid prep materials
- They may not test the same content in the same way that you'll see on the real SAT
These tests may be particularly helpful if you're already a high scorer and want to do a deep dive on what makes official materials different from non-official ones. Ultimately, unofficial tests are best for untimed content review - don't worry if you come across weird question types or content.
You can start your search for unofficial tests with Ivy Global, MajorTests.com, Varsity Tutors, and Veritas Prep. Check out our massive guide to free prep material for more tips and tricks to using these unofficial tests.
Be careful to think critically about how unofficial materials differ from the real SAT
Use PrepScholar to Stay Linked In
PrepScholar will always be a great free and reliable resource for students trying to prep for the SAT. Our blog content is constantly updated to keep up with changing SAT content and strategy.
Some of our currently available posts include:
- The Complete Guide to the New SAT in 2016
- How to Study for the New SAT in 2016
- New 2016 SAT: What's a Good Score?
- The New SAT vs. the ACT: Full Breakdown
- Best SAT Prep Books 2016 (Updated for the New SAT)
Finally, learn the best tips and tricks for acing the test.
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Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.