Studying for PSAT? Here are some tips!

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The PSAT is on Oct. 10 for all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors and it is nothing to stress about. The PSAT is just like any other test; however, studying is very important. Have a plan so that you are studying at a pace that is best for you.

  • Take a practice test. Khan Academy is a great place to go to take a practice test or practice in general. Make sure to take the test in a quiet room without distractions.

          Suggested Time: 4 hours

  • Analyze your results. After taking the test on Khan Academy the website will tell you areas you are struggling in. Also, if you have already taken the PSAT you can look at your previous score and determine where you need to improve. Don’t waste time focusing on the things you already know. Spend time on concepts you find difficult and don’t rationalize with yourself. If you feel even a little unsure about the concept, make sure to take a look over it. You will be thankful on test day!


  • Freshmen and Sophomores: Don’t blow this test off. While it may not count for you yet, it is an important indicator of your ability to perform on the PSAT in junior year. You will be able to identify your weak concepts that you can focus on for your junior year PSAT. This is especially important if you want to become a National Merit Scholar.


  • Learn the different formulas. Reading, writing and language and math are the test formats. It’s important to go over what is being tested, get a feel for the questions, get to know how it the reading and writing differs, and familiarize yourself with the test topics. Each section has specific types of questions with specific types of answers. Especially with reading, make sure that the ENTIRE answer correctly answers the question. Be cautious around qualifiers such as “never,” “always,” and “sometimes.” These can change the meaning of the answer. With English, try placing every option into the sentence and see which one sounds better. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not the answer.


  • Have confidence. You are smarter than you think you are. Just take a deep breath and stay focused during the test. Don’t panic! Increased anxiety can lead you to overthink the question and choose the wrong answer. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just make a guess at the moment and move on. You are not penalized for wrong answers. Come back to the question at the end. If you don’t have enough time at the end, at least you have an answer down. This is better than just skipping it and not having an answer at all.


  • GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST!!! You may have heard this since elementary school and you may roll your eyes at this, but it is very important. Having a well-rested mind is important to being able to stay focused during the test. You can practice a few problems, but refrain from taking an entire practice test. You need to take rest. Eat a healthy breakfast the next morning.

If math is a big struggle for you, review and practice core math concepts which include:

  • Integers
  • Fractions, ratios, and proportions
  • Algebra (linear functions, inequalities, equations, system of equations)
  • Advanced math (nonlinear functions, polynomials)
  • Problem solving and data analysis (statistics, how to read graphs)


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