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PSAT Test Preparation
PSAT is an exam that offers the maximum benefits to students and perhaps not as many to colleges or universities. It favors the students and that is why it can be said that PSAT probably is biased in providing such offers to students. Why one should take the PSAT can be determined only after one understands the usefulness of the exam.
The Worth of Taking PSAT
PSAT is an exam which is centered around helping the students in as many ways as possible. The benefits of taking PSAT can be listed as follows:
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- PSAT is an index of your capabilities. It measures and outlines your weaknesses and finer points. Hence, you are in a better position to make judgments about your level of knowledge. This works like a diagnostic test that can guide you to polish yourself specifically in certain areas.
- PSAT proves to be one of the crucial initial steps of preparation for SAT. PSAT is set on the lines of SAT, which gives an idea to students about what SAT would be like.
- PSAT provides the experience of taking a standardized test to students. It gives them an opportunity to know where they stand amongst all the candidates taking the test.
- PSAT makes it possible to receive financial aids through National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
- PSAT score is also used for guidance and counseling of students. You can receive a customized study plan for SAT and a personalized list of career matches.
Does PSAT Require Preparation?
Yes. Taking PSAT without preparation is like fooling yourself since you are the only one at loss with it. PSAT is only about helping students, and thus it is required that you make the most of this opportunity with full preparation.
The questions in PSAT have a specific format and are arranged in typical categories. Generally, students have never come across such a pattern of testing before they take PSAT. Hence, it is required that they have background-knowledge of how to take PSAT in order to do well in it.
Many students believe that PSAT is itself a preparatory test, and hence one need not prepare for it. However, the real advantage of taking PSAT can only be realized if it is taken with full preparation. This also gives you an idea of the level of preparation required to take SAT.
How to Begin Preparing for PSAT
How one should begin PSAT preparation could be a perplexing question. A student would suddenly feel as if he is standing on crossroads, not knowing which direction to take. However, everything seems to fall into place if a little consideration is given on planning from the start.
First, one must provide a time-slot for preparation. Various questions regarding preparation time should be considered. Following are some guidelines for the same.
- How much time is required for complete PSAT preparation?
This issue of time can be solved only if the student understands his current level of preparation. A student who is better prepared would require lesser time than one who is not as well versed in all the testing areas. However, in general an average student takes about 5 to 6 weeks to prepare for PSAT.
- How much time should be devoted to preparation in a singe day?
The initial days of preparation set the mood and warm up the students for a more rigorous study routine. Hence, the number of hours of study in a single day could be from 3 to 4. The following days should be devoted to serious study by putting in at least 5 hours of study on a regular basis. This should be done throughout in order to avoid struggling with 8 hours of study in order to cover up for the time lost during the initial days of preparation.
- How much time should be given to different sections of the test?
This must be decided keeping in mind the areas in which the student needs more practice. For example, if the student is better than average in writing skills but requires more practice for mathematics, he must divide the preparation time such that he can devote more time to practice mathematics questions than to polish writing skills. However, one must be particular to cover up all the content areas and keep time for revision and practice from practice tests.
Further, it is required that the students collect the relevant study material for preparation. It is with the help of tools and raw materials that a stable structure is established. Therefore, along with hard work and sincerity, good preparation is possible only with the help of good study materials.
The study materials that you collect should include good amount of information about the test and must contain the content for study of each section. The study material must also include enough practice questions and at least 2 full length PSAT practice tests. There is a wide range of books and software that can be purchased from bookstores for this purpose.
Do You Require Help for PSAT Preparation?
Even after preparing a personalized preparation plan and collecting relevant study materials there could be some students who find it difficult to go ahead with preparation on their own. They could face difficulties with understanding the content of different sections or solving the practice questions. Sometimes students are also not able to sit and study for the required time. If you are one amongst such students, you need not worry. Such problems are not related with PSAT preparation, but they deal with the method of study that is employed.
By nature, some students study better in the company of others. It is possible that with external guidance even slow learners and below average students get refined to the extent that they are able to score within the top PSAT score bracket. Hence, it is essential to identify your study nature and seek help if required.
Help is available in the forms of tutorials, classroom PSAT coaching as well as online sources. All these methods of study have their distinct features. Students must select one of these methods depending upon the flexibility, attention of supervisor and control over the study pattern that they want.
Role of Practice Tests
Nothing can teach you more than the PSAT practice tests can. With practice tests, it is possible to get a clear idea of how the questions appear on the real test. Taking such tests from time to time helps in evaluating your level of preparation. They also reflect the areas that require more preparation. Hence, the performance in practice tests can be taken as guidelines for directing your studies.
Practice tests are also helpful for reinforcing correct information in the mind. A correct response to a question affirms your knowledge, while an incorrect response encourages the students to read the explanations of answers and check where they are going wrong.
Official Student Guide
This guide contains a number of practice questions of all sections as well as a full-length practice test for PSAT. Students can contact their high school guidance office for more information about obtaining this guide for preparation. This guide provides test-taking guidance as well as explains the instructions that need to be followed for each type of question. The answer explanations for the practice test are available online on the official website of College Board.
The official website also offers SAT questions for preparation on a daily basis. These questions add to your personal question bank for PSAT preparation.
Tips to approach the PSAT
- Those interested in other standardized tests like the SAT and ACT must consider taking PSAT for sure. It provides them an edge, which determines a high score in future exams.
- Incorrect responses to multiple-choice questions in PSAT make you lose the points you have already earned. Hence, be meticulous while guessing. Guessing should not be done if you have no idea about the probable answer. Instead, clarify your concepts during preparation to be sure of your answer.
- PSAT questions vary in difficulty levels; however, all questions carry equal marks. In order to save time it is best to attempt easy questions first rather than wasting time on difficult ones.
- Take practice tests while preparing to get an idea of the way the answers need to be filled.
- Hand practice for mathematics questions in order to gain mastery over them. This provides you swiftness and precision in answering these questions.
In order to gain the most from taking PSAT, it is essential to work hard and score well in it. Although colleges do not view these scores, your PSAT experience serves as a platform to judge where you stand.
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