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How to take a practice SAT

By taking a full-length practice SAT, you can gain key insights into your readiness for Test Day, and seize the opportunity to personalize your practice with Khan Academy.

How to take a practice SAT

A practice test is not just another homework assignment. It is an important opportunity for you to get as accurate a picture as possible of your readiness to earn a score that will make you proud. Your results will help you make informed decisions about your prep schedule and keep your study sessions productive.
Here are a few tips to make your practice test a success:
  • If you're taking the test on a computer, use a notebook or pad of paper for math problems
  • If you're taking the test on paper, use the test booklet for all of your work (extra paper is not available on Test Day)
  • Use a No. 2 pencil
  • Use a printed bubble sheet
  • Use an approved calculator (list here)
In addition to your insightful, detailed score report from the College Board and personalized practice recommendations on Khan Academy, a full length practice test will give you insight into other areas that will be critical to your success on Test Day:
  • Did you run out of time on any sections?
  • Did you get nervous?
  • Did you get hungry?
  • Did you get thirsty?
  • Did you get tired?
  • Were you able to stay focused?
  • Did you survive for four waking hours without looking at your phone?

Warm ­Up

  • Eat a healthy dinner the night before the practice test, including slow­-release energy carbohydrates (for example: rice, pasta, potatoes)
  • If you are planning to print a practice test, print it out the night before and have it ready. You can find real tests HERE
  • The night before, print the answer sheet found HERE
  • Get a good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours)
  • Wake up no later than 7am - that’s the way it will be on the Saturday morning of Test Day, so try to do it the same way for the practice test if you can!
  • Eat a healthy breakfast (for example: juice, fruit, eggs, cereal, toast - nothing too sugary!)

Be Prepared

  • Again, consider using a real printed bubble sheet (download one here) - don’t just write the letters down on some random piece of paper or circle them on the test booklet. Remember, you can scan and score it!
  • Use real paper for the essay - you’ll be writing by hand on Test Day!
  • Number 2 Pencils
  • Calculator with fresh batteries
  • Water and Healthy Snacks on hand - ­your kitchen will not be next to the Testing Site!
  • Timer if you can’t find someone to proctor

Location and Environment

  • If possible, take it in a library ­- not in the comfort of home
  • No distractions.
  • Turn OFF your phone and leave it in your bag
  • If you must use your phone as a timer, put it in airplane mode
  • TOP TIP: You can also use Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy as your timer! Each practice test has a built in timer feature for each section – you can run the timer on the screen as you take the practice test on paper!


On Test Day, you will not be permitted to access your phone or any other electronic device at all except a calculator —not even during breaks—or your scores could be cancelled. So don’t do it during a practice test! You need to know what it feels like to be disconnected for these four hours.

Get Started

  • The SAT will begin around 8:30am, so do your best to start around then.
  • NOTE: Just so you know to expect it, on Test Day, you are likely to be sitting quietly in a silent room of nervous students for a half hour or so before the test actually begins! You’ll be filling out forms and listening to instructions for part of that time. You’ll also sign a statement swearing that you are who you say you are.
  • Allow an adult to proctor your practice test. If no adult can be found, then choose a friend who will take this job as seriously as you will!

Top Tips

  • Don’t forget to write the essay – you need to know what it feels like to tackle this essay assignment after three hours of testing
  • Give yourself exactly the amount of time indicated for each section
  • Don’t give yourself a few extra seconds to fill in bubbles for questions you didn’t get to. If you do that on Test Day, your scores may be canceled
  • Take Official Breaks: Take one 10 ­minute break after The Reading Test (Section 1) and one 5 minute break after the first part of the Math Test (Section 3). If you are writing the essay assignment, your break after finishing the second part of the Math Test may only be 2 minutes long. (Yes, you read that right!)
  • Eat healthy snacks and drink water during your breaks

Reviewing your practice test

Here are some useful questions to consider when reviewing your performance:
  • Did you sleep at least 8 hours the night before the practice test?
  • Did you wake up at least one hour before the practice test?
  • Did you eat a healthy breakfast?
  • Were you happy with your breakfast? Would you like to try out another kind of breakfast food next time?
  • Did you start the test at 8:30am?
  • Did someone proctor the test for you?
  • Did you use a printed test and bubble sheet?
  • Did you take it one sitting?
  • Did you give yourself Test Day breaks (10 minutes after the Reading Test, 5 minutes after part one of Math Test, 2 minutes before starting the essay)?
  • Did you drink water during breaks?
  • Did you eat healthy snacks during the breaks?
  • Did your snacks make you happy? Treat yourself during the breaks—you should only be eating healthy and happy-making snacks!
  • Were you strict with yourself about the time? If not, why not?
  • Did you leave your phone off for the duration of the practice test?
If you can answer YES to ALL of the above questions, then the chances are good that you have an accurate picture of what you're currently capable of. If you answered NO, then you didn't do everything you could to realistically assess where you stand.

Want to join the conversation?

  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user David Olugbodi
    when i try to take a practice test i have this fear of failure any one have a cure to that
    (14 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Homeskool99
      Just do your best, David. Don't let it get to you. We tend to hype the SAT up way too high. It's really not such a big deal. Keep calm about it. Try not to overthink it. It's just a test!
      Being prepared for it is a great anxiety-killer. If you know what to expect, you won't have that hidden fear of being caught by surprise. Take the practice test without too much weight - it's practice. Having that score in mind while help you a ton in the future. Your practice score will show you what you need to work on, as well as what you already know plenty about. When you attack a practice test in that way - as a tool for learning - it's much easier to keep the fear down. As an added bonus, once you've taken the practice SAT, you'll be more prepared for your real SAT, and it won't be too much of a problem.
      Please don't fear failure!! You can't fail. You may score lower than you hoped, but it's not a failure - just an opportunity for further learning. Keep your head up, feed your confidence, and do your best.
      No one can ask you for more.
      You can do well. Just give it all you've got.
      Best of luck to you!
      (68 votes)
  • male robot donald style avatar for user Jawad Khawaja
    For the practice test on SAT, since i should take it seriously like the regular SAT, should i take a break the day before I take the practice test or should i continue to practice before the practice test
    (13 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user kendra
      Hmmm, that is a good question, Jawad! If I were you, I would personally take a break the day before I took the practice test, just to make it as much like the real test as possible. On the other hand, it isn't absolutely necessary to take a break the day before your practice test. All in all, it is totally up to you, and I don't think it will make that much of a difference if you take a break before your practice test or not. Hope this is helpful to you!
      (5 votes)
  • piceratops seed style avatar for user Anthony Alcin
    Is it okay to take individual sections of the practice SAT throughout the day instead of consecutively taking it all at once? It will be my first time and I do plan to take future ones, it's just I have other things to study for.
    (7 votes)
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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user Herbert Okuthe
    I haven't started my studies for the SAT on May 6.How can I study to get the highest score possible?
    (4 votes)
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    • mr pants purple style avatar for user Olivia  **INACTIVE**
      Since your SAT is several months away, you shouldn't overly stress about studying. Depending on your schedule, study and practice for 30 minutes to an hour every day, or close to every day. Take practice tests every few weeks or so, and by the time your test comes around, you should be ready! Khan Academy is great with helping you to have a targeted practice to prepare for the SAT. One caution is that it is possible to "overstudy"--that is, study too much. If you find yourself getting worse rather than better, just take a little brain break for a few days. It won't hurt! There aren't really any secrets--just keep studying and practicing and you'll do great!
      (7 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user dharshin.senthiln
    Should I first take that SAT not timed and slowly move on to timed to see how I'm doing?
    (3 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      That's definitely a strategy you might find some use out of. When you're newer to the SAT, it can be more helpful and less stressful to take the test without thet timer, so that you're able to spend a good amount of time thinking about and applying your strategies to each question, instead of rushing. After you're answering questions to your satisfaction, you can then move on to doing the same process, just quicker, when you take a timed test. Especially as practice to see and do all types of questions tested, taking an untimed SAT is very useful.
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Cat_Girl
    I was looking at the Khan Academy full length practice tests. Is there an order in which I should take the practice exams? In other words, does it matter if I start with practice test 8 instead of practice test 2?
    (5 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Hailee Eckhart
    When I sit down to take an important test such as SAT, I have this overriding nerve and anxiety about not doing good enough on the test. How can I be more focused on the test and not my nerves?
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Kyanna Baez Santos
    Do I take the practice test online or do I go to a specific location?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Darlene Pena
    I am trying to figure out what the student info bubble sheet looks like. I don’t know what codes to put in for homeschool students for school code, address, student ID. I would like to know what I need to figure out to put in before test day
    (2 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      From the College Board's website, the school code that homeschooled students put on the SAT is "970000". I'm not sure if you need to put the school's address or your own mailing address, but in either case you should put the address of your house. To get your student ID for the SAT, I think the process is the same for other students: Bring a form of identification (more details on the College Board website), and after you sign something you should be given an ID number or something along those lines. Hope this helps!
      (4 votes)
  • duskpin seedling style avatar for user Maggie O'Brien
    I receive 50% extended time, approved by the College Board, for my SAT, applicable to each individual section. Is there anyway to apply this extra time to Khan Academy when I take a practice test, so that my experience is as closely matched to my actual circumstances as possible?
    (2 votes)
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