Why You Should Use Official SAT Practice Tests

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This tip on improving your SAT score was provided by Veritas Prep.

One of the questions our students sometimes ask is, “I’m studying for the SAT, but I’m not sure which books or practice tests to use.” A lot of resources, books, and websites will provide you with SAT practice material. You need to be extremely careful, however, about the practice material you use to prepare for the SAT or any standardized test. The key to productive practice for the SAT is “realistic practice.” That means you should practice with materials that will most closely simulate the types of questions that will appear on the actual SAT. Practicing with unrealistic or inaccurate questions are a waste of time and can even hurt your study efforts, since you may be studying the wrong content, which may not even best-tested on the SAT at all. Take the following question:

The college student sitting in the professor’s class was very interested to learn about the professor’s unique prospective on the latest research.

A) to learn about the professor’s unique prospective on the latest research.
B) to learn about the professor’s unique perspective on the latest research.
C) for learning about the professor’s unique prospective on the latest research.
D) for learning about the professor’s unique prospectives on the latest research.
E) in learn about the professor’s unique perspective on the on the latest research.

This question may look like your standard Sentence Improvement question, but it’s actually a very bad question to practice with. Why? Because diction errors, in which the wrong word is used, is not tested on the SAT. In this question, one of the errors is the use of “prospective” instead of the correct word “perspective.” The SAT will NOT test vocabulary in this way, but we have seen third-party books that have similar questions in them. So if third-party materials aren’t the best for SAT practice, which ones should be used?

You should always try to use Official College Board practice tests and questions. Two major sources are publicly available for these questions: the Official SAT Study Guide and the College Board’s Question of the Day. (Veritas Prep’s SAT practice tests are licensed from the College Board.) The College Board is the official provider of the SAT, and its questions and practice tests are the most accurate. Some have even appeared previously as official SAT tests. On top of that, the College Board makes sure that each of its questions is fair and a good indicator of a student’s ability level by running the questions through the experimental sections of the SAT. Since the College Board collects this level of data, its questions are guaranteed to be of high quality.

Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect, so try your best to study with perfect practice questions.

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