The Master of The PSAT

Curtsy of Google Images

Curtsy of Google Images

The PSAT/NMSQT, also known as the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is standardized test administered by the College Board and cosponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in the United States. Your PSAT score helps you show universities and colleges that you can attend to and graduate in flying colors. It also sharpens your test-taking skills for the SAT in your junior year. Colleges look out for students with high scores that they can accept, and this is mainly how National Merit Scholarships are awarded. Here are six tips and tricks to help you study and overcome the PSAT!

Curtsy of College Board

1. Triaging the Test

The main objective of the PSAT is to score as many points as you can, so don’t spend too much time on questions you don’t know. Work through the easy ones that you can answer. For Reading and Writing Tests, start with the most manageable passage and work towards the challenging ones. Then, work through questions that are manageable but time-consuming. Finally, work on the hard ones.

2. Elimination

There isn’t a wrong-answer penalty, but in order to get as many points as possible, it’s imperative to use elimination. Determine the answer choices that are incorrect and make your best guess from there. Eliminating incorrect answer choices allows you to better your chances of choosing the right one.

3. Paint in broad strokes

When taking reading comprehension exercises, don’t try to remember and write down every detail. Instead, the grasp the main ideas and look up specific information later. Writing down the main theme allows you to waste less time and potentially get more points because you understand the concept.

4. Read Actively

Ever wonder why teachers are so adamant about annotating? It’s because in the long run, it will help you with taking tests like the PSAT. Take notes while reading passages and ask questions so you can reflect back to it if needed. Ask questions like ” Why did author word it this way?” and “What is the tone?”

5. Practice makes perfect

Just like the saying, you should practice for the PSAT. This means that you should take multiple practice tests so you can assess you strengths and weaknesses.

6. Do NOT cram

Of course, never cram for it. Cramming it all in your head won’t allow your brain to feel stress-free and refreshed. You need all the energy you can get. Don’t spend too much time studying the night before, but a little skimming never hurt anyone. Study days prior to the say you take the PSAT so you’ll feel prepared and ready. Don’t let your doubts clog your vision and stick with your gut and brain. You got this!

Reminder that there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Points are based on how many you got correct and as long as you know you studied and prepared in a healthy manner, then there is nothing to fear. Don’t let your anxiety control you and don’t doubt yourself. Remember to take a deep breath, have a healthy breakfast, and drink lots of water before you take the exam. Give yourself a break the night before, allow yourself to calm down, and as always, remember to strive for the impossible and be extraordinary!


PSAT Test Taking Tips and Advice