Free Test Prep
Admissions test scores can affect whether a student is admitted to selective colleges or qualifies for academic scholarships. Students with higher test scores are more likely to get into top colleges and win scholarships. They are also more likely to graduate from college.
Since test scores matter, it pays to practice. Practicing for standardized college admissions tests, such as the ACT and SAT, can improve your admissions test scores. It also helps build your confidence. Practicing familiarizes you with the content, timing, and format of the tests - especially if you take practice tests under realistic conditions. Taking practice tests can identify weaknesses, such as gaps in your skills and knowledge. These gaps can be addressed through additional preparation.
Test prep classes can help improve performance by teaching test-taking strategies. But, test prep classes can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, beyond the financial reach of low- and moderate-income students. There are, however, several free and low-cost alternatives.
Testing organizations publish free sample test questions and sample tests. The College Board publishes official SAT practice tests. The ACT test prep materials include sample test questions and free study guide. Archived copies of current and previous SAT and ACT practice tests are made available by some test prep companies, such as PowerScore.
Of course, the PSAT is an official practice test for the SAT. But, the PSAT is also used to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship program, so it is a higher stakes test than just a practice version of a college admissions test. Kaplan, a test prep company, is providing free PSAT test prep through Kaplan PSAT Prep Live.
There are several other test prep services that provide free practice tests and study materials, often as a teaser for additional paid test preparation. These services include:
- 4Tests.com (ACT, SAT)
- Number2.com (SAT, ACT, GRE)
- Prepfactory.com (ACT, SAT)
- Method Test Prep (SAT)
- Union Test Prep (ACT)
Another option are test prep books. ACT and the College Board both publish several test prep books. Other publishers of test prep books include Barron’s, Kaplan and Princeton Review. These books can be found in your local bookstore or public library.
A great way to build vocabulary, reading comprehension and awareness of current events is to read the first section of a daily newspaper every day or all sections of the Sunday newspaper. If you do this consistently for a year or more, it will improve your test scores.