Less than 24 Before the PSAT – 6 Tips to Improve Your Score
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Breathe Deeply and Have Confidence!
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
- 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!
- Know what is meant by Order of Difficulty. The order of difficulty refers to the face that most questions become progressively more difficult.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)