Why You Should Take a Practice Test Before You Start Your Test Prep

test prep

Are you a high school student planning to take a big test in the near future? Check out this blog post to find out why you should take a practice test before you start studying.

Practice Makes Perfect

Often, the traditional test prep timeline includes taking a practice test after some amount of committed studying, usually fairly close to the date of the actual test. However, we recommend taking a practice test before you start your committed studying. Read on to find out about the benefits of taking a practice test near the beginning of your test prep process.

High school students take a test

It'll Allow You to Create a Strategic Schedule

The test prep process can be long and involved, meaning that you want to use your time as wisely and efficiently as possible. Taking a practice test will help you understand exactly how much material you have left to master. By comparing your practice test score with your target test score, you can obtain an idea of how much time you'll need to commit to your test prep process. Then you can make a strategic schedule that will allow you to cover exactly what you need to learn in the time you have allotted before your test, or to help you choose your test date.

It'll Allow You to Focus Your Studying

Further, taking a practice test will help you to focus your studying by identifying exactly which concepts and topics are giving you the most trouble. That way, you can study methodically, focusing most of your time and effort on the areas in which you need the most growth.

If, for example, you're taking the SAT, you can take a practice test at the beginning of your test prep process. This approach might help you determine that you're strong in math but need work in reading and writing. And this valuable information might lead you to hire a reading and writing tutor and read more books and texts while putting the math studying on the back burner, instead of sinking precious time into extraneous math problems.

A high school student prepares for a test

It'll Provide Clues about Test Lengths & Types

Finally, taking a practice test early on will give you an idea of exactly what you're getting yourself into when taking a certain exam. These clues will be especially valuable if you've never taken the type of test for which you're preparing.

For instance, taking a practice ACT or AP test will let you know how it feels to take a test of that particular length and type. This way, you'll be confident on your real test day that you've done this, or at least a variation of this, before. And you'll be able to better evaluate test prep materials, since you'll be able to compare them to the practice test you took to see if they're focused and accurate enough.

A high school student takes a test

Whichever test you're preparing for, we wish you good luck!

For more test prep help, check out Study.com's library of test prep courses in a variety of subject areas.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
May 2019
test prep practice tests

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