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Exam Definitions

Definitions of Test Types Supported by Socrato

Real Test vs. Sample Tests

  • A "Past Real Test," also known as a "Past Actual Test," is a test that was given to students in one of the past actual exams, and was used as a basis to report the scores. Examining organizations like College Board or ACT, Inc. may or may not release the real test as they might reuse the questions in future exams. They may also release only a limited number of tests or a limited number of question items.
  • "Sample Tests" are tests in which questions are similar to the ‘real test’ questions, and are primarily used for practice and preparation purposes only. The sample test may contain some real questions. The test as a whole was never given to students for score reporting purposes. Many publishing companies and tutoring companies create their own sample tests.

Released Non-Book Tests

  • Issued at exam time: students are able to take the test booklets along with them after the test. Many major exams including SAT and ACT do not allow this, because the questions are recycled in follow-up exams, and sometimes they recycle the whole test.
  • Sent as part of Score Reporting: many examination organizations (such as College Board or ACT, Inc.) will send the real test booklet along with score reports to the student. This may be done only for certain exam dates. Students may have to pay extra for such test booklets.
  • Sold by Examination Organization: Many organizations sell old 'real test' booklets for a fee. Examination organizations such as the SAT and MCAT usually do this.
  • Sample Booklet: As part of the exam overview document (typically available for download from the examination organization's website), one practice test is included in the booklet. This practice test is typically a 'past real test.'

Released Test in Book

  • The examining organization typically publishes a practice or preparation guide for their exam. These guides typically have a few 'past real tests.' For example, the ACT Guide has 3 past real tests, while the SAT Guide has 4 real tests out of 10.