by Ashley McCarrick

Think of a practice test as a scrimmage before the big game – you can see what the test will entail without all of the pressure and then make adjustments based on how you perform. These tips will help you make the most of your practice tests:

Don’t take the practice test while sitting on the couch

You’re more likely to get distracted and send a quick text message, stop for a dinner break, or even stop before finishing the entire test. Mimic the real test by practicing at a testing center or in a quiet room where you can give the test your full attention.

Time yourself properly

Set aside time to take the test in its entirety. One of the challenges of the tests is staying focused for up to four hours. If you rush through the practice test in an hour, you’re likely to see your scores drop after the first hour on the real test.
At the same time, giving yourself too much time will not give you an accurate test score.

Evaluate your weaknesses, not just your scores

Instead of focusing on your scores, look at the questions you missed and ask yourself why you missed them. Do you need help with triangle problems? Are you making simple mistakes? Analyze the test objectively and you will be able to make greater improvement. Test scores can fluctuate slightly from one test day to the next, so don’t put too much emphasis on the numbers and lose sight of the path to improvement.

Review previous tests and be able to explain incorrect answers

Before the big test, review your old practice tests. Re-work problems you have missed in the past. If you have reviewed properly, you should be able to explain your mistakes and show someone else how to get the correct answer.

Ask for help

If you are having difficulty with certain types of questions or concepts, seek out help from an experienced instructor. Becoming adept with the skills tested and comfortable with the strategies you need will make you a successful test taker.

Practice tests are one of the greatest ways to increase your scores on standardized tests, but only if you use them wisely. Test on a regular basis and you will be prepared for your big test day. Our test prep programs include regular practice tests, as well as instructor-led lessons, workshops, and test reviews. Contact a campus near you to sign up.

Ashley McCarrick is an Executive Director at KD College Prep. She has been serving KD students since 2007 and enjoys helping teenagers discover their dreams. In her free time, Ashley delights in spending time with her daughter, Lilley, and volunteering with various local organizations. You may contact her at