The Importance of Practice Tests

July 25, 2023

Junior year is almost here and it’s time for your student to start thinking about the classes that they will be taking and the college admission process. 

Although many colleges have extended their test-optional policies, standardized tests can still play an important role in this competitive college admissions landscape. With this in mind, we advise students to test with an ‘everything to gain, nothing to lose’ mindset. 

Strong scores help students distinguish themselves and stand out from the competition. In addition, some college coaches are requiring standardized testing to confirm to admissions officers that their recruited athletes are academically prepared for the rigors of that institution. Strong testing scores can also help to maximize merit scholarship awards. In short, for the vast majority of students, having strong scores that they can submit to a wide range of schools will only help.


One of the first steps in forming a testing plan is to choose which test to take: the SAT or ACT. Colleges accept both tests equally, so choosing an SAT or an ACT earlier in the process takes the potential amount of work for students and cuts that in half. Why prep for both tests, when your student can focus on just one?

Taking a full-length practice SAT and a full-length practice ACT is the best way for students to decide. Students can compare their scores, but even more importantly they get a feel for both tests and the types of questions they will see. 

With the transition to the new digital adaptive SAT in March of 2024, students can now take a digital practice SAT. What was their reaction to the reading passages found on the SAT? The ACT is a very fast-paced test. Were students able to manage their time appropriately? How did they fare on the ACT science section? 

About 75% percent of students score equally well on both tests so often the decision whether to go down an SAT or ACT path comes down to answering these types of questions.

Practice Tests as a Vital Study Tool

Practice tests are also a crucial component of any successful test prep program. They provide a starting baseline score and help track progress toward score goals. 

Summit’s detailed itemized score reports show every question that students answered correctly and those that they missed. The reports highlight areas of strengths and weaknesses – those content areas that students need to focus on to improve their scores and reach their full potential.

Taking practice tests is the best way to monitor students’ growth. 

Practice tests help to identify areas that students have mastered and also areas that still need improvement. What types of questions is the student still struggling with or what underlying academic skills need reinforcement? Practice tests are an objective way for our tutors to assess student progress and ensure that students are constantly challenged and working towards their goals.

In addition, much like a scrimmage or dress rehearsal, taking practice tests under realistic, timed conditions removes the mystery of the test, reduces test anxiety, and increases confidence. Practice tests simulate the testing experience and provide students with exposure to test pacing, timing, question types, and format so they are ready when they take these tests for real.

How Summit Can Help

From the first phone call, we make the success of your student our number one priority. 

After your student takes a free diagnostic SAT and ACT, a Summit Program Director will contact you to analyze the detailed score reports from each test. Your Program Director will make a recommendation on whether to focus on the SAT or ACT. They will help you gauge preparedness, recommend a customized 1-1 test prep tutoring program to help your student reach their score goals, and choose a tutor that will bring out the best in your student.

Questions about test prep? Contact us at or 1-800-MY-TUTOR.


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