How to Prepare for the PSAT the Night Before the Test

It is the night before the PSAT so what can you do now to prepare for the PSAT?

  1. Read over the directions and sample question.
  2. Decide now what answer choice you will choose when you are stuck between two.
  3. Do a few of each type of questions, but do not try to learn new strategies or work stressful problems.
  4. Put all your materials together and double check that you have:
    1. your admission ticket
    2. #2 pencils
    3. a working calculator
    4. photo ID
    5. snack and water for breaks
  5. Get a good night sleep – not too much, not too little.
  6. Prepare a healthy breakfast.
  7. Dress in layers.
  8. Be confident and use the power of positive thinking!

PSAT Prep – 6 Tips to Improve Your Score the Night Before the Test

Less than 24 Before the PSAT – 6 Tips to Improve Your Score

  1. Be organized. Get all your materials together a few nights before the big test. Do not try to get the things you need for the PSAT that morning. Include some high energy snacks.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. In the days before the test, changing sleep patterns is probably not a good idea. Go to bed at your regular bedtime, but limit distractions so you fall asleep quickly.
  3. Arrive early. Nothing can hurt your score more than being overly stressed at the start of the test. Leave plenty of time so if there is an unexpected delay (for example, a tree falls across the road) you can take an alternate route and still be on time.
  4. Dress appropriately and in layers. It is important to dress comfortably so that you are not adjusting your clothing or self-conscious. Wear your “power suit” – something that you feel confident in without being conspicuous. Also bring layers in case you are near a window and chilly or a heating vent and hot or if the room’s temperature tends to fluctuate.
  5. Do a few practice problems before the test. Arrive early and sit by yourself in the hallway. Review a few simple problems as a warm up. This is not the time to learn new concepts. It is a time to warm up for the big game!
  6. Breathe Deeply and Have Confidence! 
_________________________________________________________________________
Check out PSAT Prep – 10 Tips to Improve Your Score at the Last Minute for tips to improve your PSAT score a week before the PSAT.

PSAT Scholarships – NMSQT

Doing well on the PSAT may qualify you for one of the available PSAT Scholarships or recognition programs

NMSQT – National Merit Scholarship Corporation

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation cosponsors the PSAT. As such, it receives all student PSAT scores. Students scoring in the very top of the testing class are eligible to participate in the NMSQT selection. Scores are based on the overall testing score, the Selection Index score, which is the total of the critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills scores on the PSAT/NMSQT.

Each year approximately 1.5 million students take the PSAT. Of those, the top 50,000 will go on to the next level of qualification. From that list, 15,000 finalists are chosen over the next several months.

Although many sophomores students take the PSAT, only juniors are eligible to receive National Merit Scholarships. If you have done well on the PSAT as a sophomore and think you may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, it is worth the extra time and effort involved to raise your scores even further by practicing individually or with a test prep program, such as The Right Path, to try for this scholarship.

Receiving a National Merit Scholarship is not only valuable financially, it is a very prestigious award which will definitely stand out on your college applications.

For more information about NMSC, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

If you do not want your scores and students information sent to other scholarship agencies, contact the College Board directly.

PSAT Prep – 10 Tips to Improve Your Score at the Last Minute

With the PSAT right around the corner, there are some test prep skills you can learn now to improve your score quickly. Read Below for 10 Quick Tips

10 Quick Tips to Improve Your PSAT Score

  1. Learn the directions ahead of time. Never read the directions or the sample question during testing time. While the rest of the world is reading the directions, you will have answered two questions!
  2. Know what is meant by Order of Difficulty. The order of difficulty refers to the face that most questions become progressively more difficult.
  3. Learn which questions have an order of difficulty associated with them. For the most part, there is a direct order of difficulty for all PSAT questions except those which require extended reading (Passage Based Reading and Paragraph Improvement Questions).
  4. Write your answer in the margin. Write the answer to the questions directly next to the answer choices listed so you can find them easily and bubble them in quickly.
  5. Bulk transfer your answers. Don’t break testing momentum by answering and bubbling each question. Transfer questions in groups that make sense. One note of caution: Do not leave too many unbubbled answers as time begins to run out!
  6. Understand the scoring methods. Multiple Choice Questions are scored: +1 point for every correct answer. -1/4 point for every incorrect answer with incorrect answers rounding up at the 1/2 mark. There is no penalty for incorrect Grid-In Questions or skipped questions.
  7. Realize all questions are worth the same number of points. there is no additional benefit to answering difficult questions so many students do better by skipping at least some of these.
  8. Know where to guess and where to skip. Guessing can improve your score if you have the discipline to do it quickly. Do not waste time debating answer choices and do not waste time attempting questions you cannot do.
  9. Realize the PSAT takes self-discipline. For most of your school career you have approached tests using methods which can harm your PSAT scores. Skipping questions may be your best bet – something most students would never think of doing on regular school tests.
  10. Have confidence and remember the PSAT does not get sent on to any colleges. Unless you are looking for a National Merit Scholarship, the PSAT is an important dress rehearsal for the big day. If you are a strong enough student to be taking the PSAT/NMSQT, you should take heart in the fact that you will probably be one of the more desired college applicants and winning this scholarship, while it is a very big deal, may be more like icing on the cake of your application.

_________________________________________________________________________

For last minute PSAT Tips, read PSAT Prep – 6 Tips to Improve Your Score The Night Before the Test  (Published October 18, 2012)

 

 

 

It’s Time to Register for the PSAT!

The PSAT is only offered in October each year, and October is coming up fast so it is important to not procrastinate – register now for your PSAT! Interested students should go to their local high school guidance counselors or school officials and discuss how best to register for the PSAT in their area. Most high schools will host this test, but it is important to register early to ensure a seat. Also, some schools, especially smaller, private schools, will not host a PSAT so students at these schools should be especially proactive in registering for the exam. A photo ID and $14 payment must be accompanied by PSAT registration.

Unlike the SAT, the PSAT has no online registration at this point. Also unlike the SAT, the PSAT is only offered one month each year so missing important deadlines can be quite detrimental to your testing and to your wallet! Although you may be able to register for a test later than the first deadline, additional fees usually apply. Also consider that delaying registration may mean you are not be able to get the testing site you desire. An alternate testing site can mean costly travel and parking fees in some areas. Taking the test in a location with which you are unfamiliar may also mean that you have an increased anxiety level which may be detrimental to your score.

While college admissions officers do not generally look at PSAT scores when considering applicants, the PSAT’s are important as a practice SAT. There are significant differences between the PSAT’s and the SAT’s; however, the question style, and test format among other things make the PSAT an important aspect of PSAT test prep. It is also very important for those students hoping to qualify for the NMSQT – National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. I will write more on the NMSQT in my future blog post:  The PSAT’s – How to Prep for Your NMSQT.

photo credit