Why is my test score lower than my practice test scores?

  1. You didn’t take the practice tests properly

Using real, official SATs and ACTs is the best way to assess your score; the practice test scores you got in the two weeks before test day are good predictors of how you will score on the real test. However, these scores can be quite inaccurate if you don’t take the practice tests properly. You should take each practice test in a single sitting, uninterrupted, and follow testing rules (for example, don’t give yourself a few extra minutes to finish up a section).

2. You aren’t properly managing your time

It’s important not to allow yourself to get bogged down on any one question, as it’s easy to get sidetracked and run out of time.

3. Test anxiety can reduce your score

If you suffer from test anxiety, I recommend taking the actual test as many times as you can; the more you take the test, the more comfortable you should be on test day, which can help you feel less anxious. Note that test anxiety is different from mild test day nervousness (almost everyone gets that!)

4. Lack of sleep

Students are used to operating at a sleep deficit, but this is a dangerous situation when it comes to the SAT and ACT! Make sure you get plenty of sleep – not only the day before your test, but in the week before your test.

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