When it comes to practice, the general rule in sport is train specific. What this means, basically, is that a runner should prepare for his or her sport primarily by running, a swimmer by swimming. The same goes for SAT or ACT practice tests. Any time you sit down for an SAT or ACT practice test, be sure that you are doing everything just like you would on the real test. Here are a few things to think about before you dive into your next practice exam.
Take the practice test in a proctored environment. Will you be able to take the real SAT or ACT while sitting in your favorite comfy chair? No. So should you take a practice exam there? Probably not. If possible, take the practice exam with a proctor in a realistic exam setting. This will give you a much better feel for what the real test will be like, and if you can get comfortable in this kind of testing environment, it will go a long way in helping you deal with the anxiety of the real SAT or ACT exam.
Do not speed through each section. I cannot say how many times I have seen students sit and stare at the wall for five minutes after quickly finishing a section of a practice exam. The problem is, practicing this way only reinforces bad habits when it comes to pacing. It also prevents students from building up the proper endurance necessary for concentrating during the entirety of the real test. Be sure, when you take a practice exam, that you treat it like the real thing and spend all the time you have in each section attempting to do your best. This will help you perfect your pacing strategies and build your stamina for this extremely long test.
Practice your strategies. This is perhaps the most helpful advice I can give to students. Learning the different strategies for each section of the SAT and ACT test is one thing, but getting good at using them is another. In order to properly implement the strategies, you have to practice using them. And the best time to practice them is when you are training specific by taking practice SAT and ACT exams.