Cracking the PSAT

10 Sure-Shot Tips to Crack the PSAT

The Preliminary SAT or the PSAT, also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, is a systemized and a standardized test for the students, which measures test-takers’ skills in critical reading, math and writing. Cracking the test is not a very tough job as it is pretty possible to score high in it and enter the scholarship competition. The scholarship competition however, is open only for the eleventh-grader test-takers for whom, it is an important priority. Not only for achieving scholarships, but for getting ready to take the SAT, one should take the PSAT and correspondingly know the tips for taking the test competently. Given below are ten of the best tips and strategies, for  scoring really high in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) programs.

Tips to Crack PSAT:

  1. A test-taker must opt for answering the easy questions at first. Initially, a test-taker gets the easier questions and slowly the test turns harder. For example, in the Critical Reading section the questions given are set according to the idea and the pattern of the passage. In case you don’t know the answer to any of the questions, you should leave it/them and proceed answering the remaining questions. Remember, you will not be penalized for leaving a question answered.

  2. In the Writing Skills section, you might become confused with certain words and their meaning. For example, you can be quite unsure about "Sentence Completion or the Paragraph Improving" questions. In such cases, you should relate the word/words, which you don’t understand, to familiar phrases, proverbs, prefixes, suffixes, etc.

  3. Positively take the practice test given in The Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT. You will learn a great deal about the test and ways for passing the test. You should learn the instructions of each sections, i.e. Critical Reading, Math and Writing Skills. Work out the sample test and the sample questions given in the guide and try to score as many points, as you can in each of these tests and questions.

  4. For scoring high, you should understand the method of scoring. It awards you a point for the right answers, deducts 1/4th points for wrong answers, awards zero points for blank answers and deducts no points for wrong student-produced answers of the math section. You are given a score on a scale of 20 to 80 in each section. Accordingly, you should respond in your test, for clearing it successfully.

  5. You should remember to follow some basic test-taking tips. They are: read all the question options before responding, do your scratch-work on the test booklet provided, answer systematically wasting no time in answering tough questions, carefully fill up the grid-ins questions and make educated guesses for multiple-choice questions.

  6. This test is machine scored. Hence, take care that your answer appears legible and not a careless doodle. Such mistakes attract stray marks, which you rather not ask for. Develop the habit of checking your answers, whether they have been placed at the correct place and section of the test.

  7. Read the question very carefully and understand the basic idea portrayed in it. Remember, you should answer exactly according to the direction given in the question and not according to the direction you recall from one of your practice tests.

  8. For the passage based questions, do not try to memorize the passage and then answer. The trick is to answer more and read less. For pairs of passages, read their introductory note and try to relate between them.

  9. For the Math section, remember that negative answers are not possible. In case you get a negative answer, you should recheck your sum. In case the answer is in mixed fraction, in the grid-ins, change it into improper fraction while answering.

  10. ‘Practice’ should be your catchword while preparing for the test. Remember, that the test contains a series of questions, for which you should carefully make a strategy to finish them off in time. Allocate some time for rechecking or for mistakes. Practice numerous practice papers and questions and learn to allocate your time wisely. Remember, timing is everything.

The above discussion gives you some details about the exam. You can follow them to get a high score. Remember that 201 is the average cut-off score for entering the NMSC competition. Hence, you should score enough to cross and get above the cut-off score. The above-mentioned tips and strategies would help you in such endeavor.