How Many Practice ACTs/SATs Should I Take Before the Actual Test?

Jennifer Lawrence was supposedly discovered by chance. Legend has it that the young Lawrence was on a trip to New York with her family when a talent agent stopped them on the street and asked Lawrence to come read for a part. Sylvester Stallone, on the other hand, worked as a dirt-poor struggling actor for many years. Stallone worked tirelessly to get the film “Rocky”--a film that he wrote-- made. Some say he pitched the script to producers 150 times before it got picked up and though he finally fulfilled his dreams, it is said that he was forced to sell his dog to make ends meet in the process.

We all wish we could be like Jennifer Lawrence, but when it comes to ACT/SATs, assume that you are Sylvester Stallone.

Going In One More Round When You Don’t Think You Can

Many students ask us how many practice tests they should take before sitting for the real thing. We suggest taking as many as you can. There is no exact science here. You should take as many practice tests as it takes for you to feel comfortable. Notice that we did not say you should “take as many practice tests as it takes for you to get a perfect score.” It’s all about progress. So before you start your prep work, we recommend setting a goal and sticking with it until you consistently get there, or at least get consistently close.

It Ain’t About How Hard You Hit. It’s About How Hard You Can Get Hit and Keep Moving Forward

Let’s say you get an 1100 on the first practice SAT and you set a goal of 1400. You’ve taken several practice tests at this point and you keep hitting a 1350. Even though you haven’t quite hit the 1400 mark, it’s time to take the test. Putting it off for another two months isn’t going to raise you to a perfect score.

It’s Your Right To Listen To Your Gut

A lot of people ask us how they decide between the SAT and the ACT. So, should you prep for both?


A championship boxer doesn’t need both the hamburger and the cheeseburger. Choose one. Take a diagnostic test online. Whichever test you do marginally better on or whichever one makes you more comfortable, go with that one and never look back.

If You’re Willing To Go Through All the Battling You Got To Go Through To Get Where You Want To Get, Who’s Got The Right To Stop You?

Well, the truth is, the university has the right to stop you if your scores aren’t great. This day and age, a lot of schools, namely liberal arts colleges, are going test-optional. If you’re trying for an Ivys, however, your test scores are really going to matter and there is no minimum. High GPAs are no substitute for poor test scores, so explore a diversity of tutors until you find the right one and keep on hitting those practice tests.

Just don’t take the real thing more than three times.

Applying to schools is a team effort. If you need a coach during the test-taking process, you can find us here.