Most high school students take the PSAT as sophomores or juniors. If you’re one of them, you may have learned about the PSAT from your school or through information online. Getting prepared for the test, however, goes beyond simply knowing about it.
Fortunately, we’ve gathered a list of tips that will help you prepare for the PSAT! Here are some great pointers.
- Don’t worry about memorizing
The PSAT tests knowledge you've learned in your high school classes. Any formulas you’ll need for the math sections will be provided for you, and you won't be required to recall specific facts from history, science, or literature. The purpose of the exam is to gauge your abilities in reading comprehension, English language grammar and structure, and math through algebra II; your PSAT scores will also provide a realistic estimate of your baseline SAT scores. Focus more on reading carefully and developing your skills throughout high school, and you'll have the know-how you'll need to do your best.
If you’re not already an avid reader, you need to start reading as much as possible. Students who do not regularly expand and improve their reading skills tend to experience greater difficulty with the Reading and Writing & Language sections of the PSAT and SAT, and are less likely to raise their scores on these sections. Take it from us: the only thing that improves your reading abilities is reading itself! Find a subject of interest and try to incorporate regular reading about that subject into your daily routine. Just 15-20 minutes per day spent reading a book, newspaper, magazine, online article, or other literature media can greatly enhance your comprehension, speed, and retention—all skills that are essential for achieving higher Reading and Writing & Language scores.
- Take a PSAT practice test
A practice test for a prep test for another test? Yep, that’s how it works: the best way to be prepared for anything is to experience it firsthand. Get yourself a practice PSAT online or from the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide, a copy of which should be available in your school's counseling/guidance office. This is a great way to become familiar with the exam's directions, structure, and content. You can also try practice questions if you feel you need more help with a specific question type. Or opt in for our PSAT week with classes on PSAT strategies.
- Review your answers
After taking your practice test, grade it and revisit any questions you've answered incorrectly. Reviewing your answers will help you understand what you did well and where you need to improve your thinking or test-taking skills; this, in turn, will help you do your best on the real thing.
Though the PSAT score itself won't influence your college admissions decisions, it's important to put forth a good effort on the exam: this way, you'll feel comfortable about the test-taking process, and will know where you stand with your scores. Using your PSAT results, you'll be able to plan your SAT prep intelligently, eliminate stress, and maximize your chances of success.
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