SAT practice tests: easier than real thing?

My son just took the SAT practice test for the first time, via Khan Academy. He scored a 1580 out of 1600. (He is very honest and follows rules to a T, so I’m confident he did not cheat.)

I am not totally shocked by the score as he is quite bright, but I figured he’d score more along the lines of 1200-1300 his first try. He didn’t do any prep other than math classes (Trig, Calculus) and a bit of review of Algebra via Khan Academy (he never took an Algebra or Geometry class).

Just wondering: are practice tests easier than the real thing? (Besides test-day anxiety, of course.)

Ymmv. You will know how close when your son takes the real test and gets his scores back.

But this is a sign he will have a respectable score…maybe not close to perfect… but good.

I don’t think they’re easier. My son got a perfect score on SAT but not the practice tests (although I think he rushed for the practice). Maybe the current SAT is easier than old ones.

The biggest difference for my children was the time of the day for the test. Practice test results from the late afternoon were much better than after a two hour commute at the break of dawn for the actual test.

@MaterS excellent point!

Do you know which practice test #? My son found that he scored higher on practice tests 5-8 than 1-4. Go figure.

@JBStillFlying I’ll ask, but if the practice tests are offered in a #1-8 sequence, I’m sure he started with the first. He’s very much a “by the book” kid.

My kid thought the reading was significantly more difficult on both actual SATs she took this fall than the practice tests, including test #8, which was the actual Jan 2017 administration. (Practice tests #5-8 were actual prior administrations.)

@evergreen5 Thanks! That’s a relief to hear (somehow)!

@JeanJeanie I just reread my post and just in case it wasn’t clear, my kid thought that Aug and Nov were way harder than Jan for reading specifically.

@evergreen5 thanks for that clarification (I didn’t even realize there were that many tests!).

The difficulty of the practice test depends on the program you are using. Make sure you use a program that has been deemed accurate and similar to real tests. I would also recommend practicing with various programs so that you have experience with various difficulty levels. Even real tests vary in difficulty. That’s one reason scores fluctuate, but another is testing conditions. Make sure he practices taking the entire test in one sitting, and gets good sleep, eats good food, etc. etc. the morning of the test. There are even rules about what to eat and what not to eat the week of the test. I was also always told not to study the night before (though I usually studied the morning of). Best of luck!

P.S. the best score I ever got was when I had a cold (and so did everyone else in my room). Super distracting. I got a 34/36 on Reading (this was ACT), and the entirety of that section I was trying to get my proctor’s attention to get me a tissue. Very strange but I guess luck plays a part too (:

@evergreen5 at #7: That might explain why S19 thought 1-4 were “weird” I remember those were released before the first revised PSAT so WELL before the first rSAT. They released 5-8 after the first SAT’s were administered. Good to know they are based on actual tests.

Thanks @pinkzebra1234 he is an extreme rule follower, so I have zero doubt he took the test (via College Board/Khan Academy) exactly as he should. Re your best score when you had a cold, I was that way as an athlete. Often performed best when expectations were lowered! :slight_smile: