Last-Minute Tips for the PSAT
Feel Confident on Test Day By Brushing Up on These Important Pointers
The PSAT is just a few weeks away, which means now is the perfect time to crank up your test preparation efforts in order to feel confident on exam day. The more students learn about how the exam works and what will be expected of them, the easier it is to relax and let your academic skills shine.
If the PSAT is currently on your radar, go the extra mile to learn about the exam inside and out. Keep reading to learn more about what’s on the test and some strategies to help you succeed.
Learn The Basics
The PSAT is an abbreviated version of the SAT with a Math and English Reading & Writing section. The math sections are designed to evaluate the quantitative skills you will use in college, your career, or in your personal life. The math section includes questions that are both multiple choice and grid-ins. Topics covered include Heart of Algebra, Problem & Data Analysis, and the Passport to Advanced Math.
The questions on the reading test are multiple choice and based on passages. Some passages are paired and others include informational graphics such as tables, graphs and charts. The test will ask you to locate information within the passages or ask what the author’s words imply. Similarly, the writing section is comprised of multiple choice questions based on passages, which can be accompanied by graphics. No prior knowledge is tested, but students will be asked to use practical skills they have covered in their own schoolwork: reading passages, finding mistakes, and fixing the identified errors.
Take a Practice Test
It’s important to get an understanding of the test’s structure, as well as a clear picture of what is covered on the exam. Luckily, the CollegeBoard has provided free access to ten full-length practice tests, answer sheets, and answer explanations on their website.
Answer Every Question
Since there is no penalty for wrong answers, it’s important to make sure you fill in an answer for every question even if you are not 100% certain that it is the correct answer. This exam is scored by adding up all of your correct answers to calculate a raw score. The CollegeBoard breaks this down in their scoring booklet.
Students should bring the essentials and aim to leave everything else at home. For the PSAT that means taking No. 2 pencils, an approved calculator, and a valid ID. Avoid bringing the following items: electronic devices and smart watches, protractors, rulers, highlighters, colored pencils, pens, food and drinks.
Make the Most of the Day Before
Building strong test preparation habits for the PSAT can help set you up for success for other exams, such as the SAT or ACT. Take the night before the test off and use this time to relax, clear your mind, and pack your bag. Be sure to go to bed early to give yourself plenty of time to sleep and prepare for the test during the following morning.
Have a Morning Ritual
On test day, make sure you get up early enough to give yourself adequate time to eat breakfast, take a shower, and feel mentally and physically alert. Choose a morning meal with protein to stay fueled throughout the exam and maybe walk around the block to get your blood pumping. Plan to leave home at least 15 minutes earlier than you need to in order to avoid any last minute commuting stress.
While the PSAT can seem stressful, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the exam, students should believe in themselves and walk into the test room with confidence. If you are currently preparing for an exam and looking for one-on-one guidance, our team of expert tutors can help you prepare for any standardized test.