PSAT Testing: Tips And Tricks


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Ali Elmalky, Staff Writer

As the education system has grown, so has a topic students have grown to loathe: standardized tests. Students dread the days they have to sit, bubble in answers on a scantron and wring their hands until they receive the scores that may make or break their college careers.

Some may argue that these tests encourage educators to “teach to the test” and mainly focus lessons on material that will be on this assessment, avoiding other potentially important concepts. People on the other side of the spectrum claim that standardized testing is the best way to easily gauge student learning.

Either way, these types of tests are inevitable, whether it is the American College Testing Program (ACT), National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSQT) or, most importantly, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Tenth and eleventh grade students have the option to take the PSAT, a practice test that is similar to the SAT.

Most students opt to take part in the practice exam. It provides similar test conditions to the SAT, with students being monitored by a proctor and given a time limit. It also gives a good indication of what a student would score on the SAT without any prior preparation.

Preparing for the PSAT is not as intimidating as SAT prep, partly because the PSAT does not go on any transcripts and students do not have to study as intensively.

“The SAT is what you’re going to be sending into colleges, so you want to take as many practice tests as you can, so when you’re taking the SAT, you’re prepared and do well on the SAT or ACT,” head counselor Melissa Gibson said.

One helpful tip for the PSAT is to not focus on it too much. The sole reason of the PSAT is to see how you stand for the SAT, so it is never wise to forego important homework or projects just to study for it.

Practice good test taking habits. Sleep early and have a good breakfast the day of the PSAT so that you are well rested and fully focused on taking the test.

The PSAT may seem like a huge milestone, marking your entrance into late high school, but it is important to not stress yourself out over it. Remember to relax, take a deep breath and give it your best shot.