Importance of PSAT Exam

The PSAT in a Glance:

PSAT, or the Preliminary SAT, is a popular exam among the students that enables them to understand their strengths and capabilities and to be ready to face higher challenges in school and in the outside world. The PSAT exam, also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) is an in-depth national evaluation of the Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Skills of a test-taker. The authorities administer the PSAT on the third Saturday of October and the preceding Wednesday. Hence the upcoming PSAT test dates are October 20 and October 17 2012. There are as such no test centers for PSAT. Only high schools administer the PSAT on any of the two assigned days of October. The fee for the test is kept low and fee-waivers are available for the eleventh graders.

Why PSAT is essential for a test-taker?

The PSAT exam provides each test-taker a platform to prove their mettle in a national level. The exam also gauges whether a test-taker deserves a national scholarship for further studies. It recommends and suggests how a test-taker should develop his academics. It provides them with a customized report of their test performance and a free custom-made online college planning tool. Finally, the PSAT exam lets the test-taker prepare for SAT.

What Are the Test Section of PSAT?

The PSAT exam evaluates a test-taker’s knowledge on three bases, namely, the Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Skills. Itconsists of five sections, two twenty-five minutes sections for Critical Reading, two twenty-five minutes sections for Mathematics and one thirty-minute section for Writing Skills. These sections mostly contain multiple-choice questions and student-produced responses (Math section). The whole PSAT exam is 2 hours and 10 minutes long.

What Are the Question Types of Each PSAT Section?

The PSAT tests variable ability of a student. Following headings and subheadings discusses about the types of questions in PSAT:

  • Critical Reading: the Critical Reading tests your comprehension skills and your prowess in vocabulary. It contains 13 sentence completion and 35 critical reading questions.
    • Sentence Completion: in this type, a sentence is given with one or two blanks in it. Each of these blank signifies that some word/words is/are missing. You have to select an option, out of the five given, to make the sentence complete and grammatically correct.

    • Critical Reading: there will be one or two passages presented to you, followed by questions based on the passage/s or the relationship between the passages. There will be five options.

  • Mathematics: the Mathematics section contains questions regarding Numbers and Operation, Algebra and Function, Geometry and Measurement and Data Interpretation. It includes 28 multiple-choice and 10 student-produced questions. The later question type might require a calculator.
    • Multiple-choice Math Questions: questions would involve sums, which you have to solve and check, which given option best matches your answer.

    • Student Produced Responses (Grid-ins): there will be no options given for this type of question. The test-taker has to enter his answer in a grid, specialized for answers in fractions, decimals or whole numbers.

  • Writing Skills: there are 39 questions in this section. This section checks your vocabulary too, with special emphasis on your usage of Standard Written English. It contains three types of questions:
    • Identifying Sentence Errors: there are 14 question of this type, containing a sentence which will have four of its part underlined corresponding to four options, A through D. You have to select the option, which contains an error.

    • Improving Sentence: you will be presented with 20 improving sentence questions, where a sentence is given, having a portion or all of it underlined. You will be presented five options, from which you have to choose the one which best rephrases the underlined part. The first option will always be kept the same as the underlined part, in case you feel that no other option is necessary.

    • Improving Paragraphs: there will be 5 questions of this type. Each question contains passages which are primary drafts of essays. Some portions of the passage might require being composed again, for making it grammatically legitimate. You have to read the passage carefully and select the best option which is the correct description of the underlined portion.

The above article is a gist of the PSAT exam. It talks about the exam, the test dates and fees, how it serves as an useful tool in the hands of the students and what are the test sections and question types. Most importantly, you must remember that scoring high in the PSAT exam would earn you national merit scholarship. Don’t miss it!

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