You can definitely get a smog check "pre-test", AND it's a great idea.
We should only mention that the smog pretest results will not be counted towards the smog check requirement when the DMV asks for one. This could work for you or against you. If the vehicle passes, you'd want the information to be recorded. If it fails, then you'd be glad it did not.
For the purpose of knowing the engine emission condition of your vehicle is in, getting a smog check pretest is a great idea. You can visit any smog station and ask for a smog "pre-test".
During the pretest your vehicle's smog check results will be sent to the state (CA), however regardless of how your vehicle does, the results won't affect your vehicle's smog check status. The DMV will not see your smog check results. The results will only be visible to the Bureau of Automotive Repairs (BAR).
Note... you will not be issued a smog certificate.
If your vehicle passes the smog check pre-test, you will not be issued a smog certificate, rather, the smog technician will give you a vehicle inspection report (VIR). You'll be getting a vehicle inspection report if your vehicle fails the pretest also.
We recommend calling around for pretest pricing. You may find smog stations which charge less for a smog pretest. You will not need to pay the $8.25 California Smog Certificate Fee as your vehicle will not be issued a smog certificate in the event it pass the smog pretest.