SAT and ACT Prep: How Many Practice Tests Should I Take?

Monday, March 5, 2018

SAT and ACT DiagnosticsTake Multiple SAT and ACT Practice Tests As Part of Your  Test Prep Plan

Practice tests are an integral part of any test ACT prep program, especially when you’re preparing for the SAT or ACT. Regardless of the test you plan to take, practice exams give you an opportunity to challenge your skills and gauge your progress.

Incorporating practice tests into your SAT and ACT prep strategy is an easy way to gain confidence, monitor your performance, and prepare yourself for test day. Taking them in timed, quiet, unfamiliar settings, similar to the test day environment, is a surefire way to take your test prep to the next level. This “grind” will either enhance or put pressure on your performance, and you want to go into the official test having this sort of experience under your belt.

Number of Practice Tests

So how many practice tests should you be taking over the course of your exam prep? While there is no concrete universal number, typically taking one practice test every 10 hours of prep (or about once per month) is most effective for many ACT and SAT students.

During your first tutoring sessions, there will be a great deal of test-specific content you will need to get a handle on. You should work with your tutor to get your feet wet on all sections of the test before attempting your first practice test, and we find that this typically lands at or after 10 hours of tutoring.

Evaluating Practice Tests

Once you receive those results, you will need to review your performance with your tutor and go through the sections and questions types that are considered your weakest areas and adjust your test prep plan moving forward.

You should use another 10 hours of prep to refine your knowledge and tailor your approach to those questions. By the time you take your next practice test, your errors should be less centralized to specific content areas and more geared towards “one-off” errors (such as careless mistakes or particularly tricky problems). After this point, you should be familiar with the format and timing of the test, so many of our tutors begin assigning weekly or bi-weekly practice tests until the official test sitting in order for their students to gain the most exposure possible.


Keep in mind, taking a practice test every 10 hours of prep is a general guideline and this is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Due to the individualized nature and customization of tutoring programs, if you are working with IvyWise tutors, they may adjust your practice test timeline if you are not ready to take another practice test, or if they feel like you would benefit from more practice. However, no matter where you are in your test prep, it is important to make sure you are taking and reviewing these practice tests in order to be best equipped for your official test sitting.

Are you on track with your test prep? Download our free Tutoring Checklist to make sure you’re where you need to be with your SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Test prep, and more.

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