No matter who you are or whether you’re planning on becoming a National Merit Scholar or not, it’s a good idea to prep for the PSAT. The PSAT is a dry run for the standardized test you will take in the near future. Whether you plan on taking the SAT or would rather take the ACT, the PSAT is a great opportunity to see where you are at in standardized testing and what you need to work on.
These are our four tips for prepping for the PSAT:
I: Take a Practice PSAT
Humans learn better from taking a test than if they learned material cold. To capitalize on this effect, we recommend you take a practice PSAT before the real one.
You can get a free PSAT from the College Board (we have a link for two PSAT tests on our resource page here). It’s essential you take this practice exam in real testing conditions: printed out, filling our answers on a bubble sheet with a number two pencil, and using the official timing of each section (use our PSAT mock test timer here). If you can, try to do the test all in one sitting.
II. Review Test
When you’re finished, go over your test and mark everything question you got wrong or skipped. This will help you understand what kinds of questions you’re struggling with. Make a list of the types of questions you missed and the material you need to brush up on.
Evaluate your performance. Did you run out of time? We’re you struggling with your pace on the reading section?
If you want help on evaluating your performance and going over the questions you missed, we have free videos with explanations for every question of PSAT #1 here.
III. Study Your List
After you’ve gone over your exam and written down the types of questions you got wrong, it’s now time to study those questions.
Go over the content you missed. It can be formulas you didn’t know in the math section, or grammar rules you missed in the writing section.
For help on the writing section, we recommend you use our course or independent tutor books to go over grammar rules.
For help on the math section, our course and Khan Academy are great tools.
For help on the reading section, since this is more evidence based, practice makes perfect. Continue to practice reading sections (we have videos on how to ace the reading section on our Youtube channel).
Do steps 1-3 again until you feel comfortable with the format, questions, and timing of the PSAT.
Finally, you’re ready to ace your PSAT! Remember the PSAT is meant to be practice, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do perfectly.