Over 3.4 million students take the PSAT every year, so why shouldn’t you? The PSAT—also known as the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test—is a great way for students to familiarize themselves with the SAT. It will not only help you prepare for the SAT, but it will give you a head start on self-evaluation. If you’re already looking ahead to your college career, you’ll enjoy these long-term preparation tips for the PSAT.
Know Your Way Around the PSAT
Preparing for the PSAT starts with knowing what to expect. Consider the PSAT as a full dress-rehearsal of the SATs and ACTs. Here’s what you’ll want to be familiar with:
- PSATs are once a year, in October. If you’ve missed your chance to take the PSAT this year, that means you can begin preparing on a long-term basis. The year will go by much faster than you think.
- Know the tests. The PSAT is split into Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Math questions include geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. For reading and writing, you’ll have to rely on passage-based multiple choice questions.
- Know your grades. Each section is graded from 160-760, with a perfect combined score of 1520. If you want to get a better hold on what scoring is like for the PSAT, look at the Princeton Review’s guide.
Take a Practice Test
Practice tests are widely available, which means they’re a great way to begin sharpening your skills at test-taking. If it seems too far in advance, keep in mind that the test-taking skills you practice now can be used throughout your high school and college career.
When giving yourself a practice test, make sure that you also pay attention to the PSAT guidelines before you start, including:
- Learning how to “grid-in” math questions. On the PSAT, you don’t need to reduce fractions to their lowest terms. Knowing this on a practice test can save you a lot of time on the big day.
- Get yourself the right equipment. That means a printer, pencil, calculator, and egg timer.
- Learn how to make educated guesses. This is imperative for the questions you don’t know. Missing questions will mean an automatic deduction, but educated guesses can sometimes land you hits.
- Know the timing. Give yourself as much time as you’ll have on the day of the PSAT. Currently, the PSAT is two hours and 45 minutes long. Including break time, it will take a 3-hour chunk from your day. Even if you don’t want to put aside that much time, you can break up your practice test into smaller, more digestible chunks. Just make sure that you stick to the overall time limits and don’t give yourself any advantages.
Prepare with a Tutor from Jantzi Test Prep
We hope you’ve enjoyed these long-term preparation tips for the PSAT. However, if you’re looking for more ways to prepare for the PSAT, SAT, or ACT, consider working with a professional tutor from Jantzi Test Prep. Our tutors know the ins and out of each test and are happy to help you receive a successful grade. Don’t wait—begin studying today!