Let's talk about the PSAT. For many students, the PSAT is the first exam in a long chain of standardized tests. Some high school sophomores start preparing for the PSAT in the summer because it gives students a chance to get ahead without the distractions of high school academics.
Overview of the PSAT
1. Test Format
- The PSAT is made of 5 sections: 2 critical reading sections, 2 math sections and 1 writing section.
- The test lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes with short breaks between sections.
- All questions on the PSAT are multiple-choice.
2. Test Content
- The PSAT tests for 3 skills: critical reading, math problem solving and writing.
- The Critical reading section consists of sentence completion and reading passages.
- The math Section covers numbers/operation, basic algebra, geometry and data analysis.
- The writing section includes 3 text based problem types: identifying sentence errors, improving sentences, improving paragraphs.
The Benefits of doing well on PSAT
1. PSAT prep is a precursor to the SAT.
- The standardized test preparation you do for the PSAT will help you get ahead on the SAT. The tests are rather similar, so your time spent on the PSAT can be (re) channeled into the SAT when the time comes.
2. The PSAT offers a baseline score for the SAT.
- Some students actually use the PSAT as a diagnostic exam for the SAT; your score on the PSAT will give you a good idea of how you might do on the SAT. This doesn’t mean that you are fated to score the same on PSAT and the SAT, but that this score will be your starting point. With SAT tutors, many students see radical increases in their test scores.
3. The PSAT is also an effective way to receive feedback on your natural strengths and weaknesses, and may inform how you focus your energy in school (and possibly with test prep).
4. A high score on the PSAT makes you eligible to apply for scholarships and receive academic honors:
- National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NSMC)
- National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP)
- National Scholarship Service (NSSFNS)
- The Telluride Association