10 Invaluable Tips for PSAT

The PSAT Test

The PSAT is a standardized test that serves as a preliminary test as well as a qualifying test for achieving the National Merit scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Listed below are a few helpful PSAT tips. The PSAT tips will help you only if you have a comprehensive approach towards preparation. The PSAT tips are designed to help you before and during the test.

10 Invaluable Tips for PSAT

  1. Take a diagnosis test: Taking a diagnostic test helps you to identify your level of preparedness for the test. It is especially a helpful PSAT tip because it highlights or brings out your weak areas that require focus. It also highlights your strengths so that you do not need to spend much time working on those areas.

  2. Set a timetable: Setting a timetable for yourself enables you to be systematic and focused towards a certain area or topic. A timetable also helps you to plan other things, such as homework, activity classes, and so on. You can devote a certain number of hours to studying and completing a topic rather than haphazardly focusing on an area.

  3. Select a good test prep: Select your prep course carefully; focus on academic courses, read as much as you can and on a variety of topics, and work hard at your studies. Enroll in the most challenging courses you can handle. The courses can be in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Languages, and Fine Arts. You can also involve yourself in problem-solving activities through clubs, sports, hobbies, and so on, which will help you develop the requisite skills.

  4. Take practice tests: The best source of the practice test is The Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT. You can use the sample tests from prep materials; tutorial courseware or prep books. Most materials include the answers and the explanations to the questions. Another way to get ample practice is to try sample questions from past test papers.

  5. Learn the PSAT tips and strategies for each type of questions: Familiarize yourself with the instructions for each type of questions: Math, Writing Skills, and Critical Reading questions. This strategy saves you time during the test so that you do not try to decipher what the questions ask you to do.
  6. Tackle easy questions first: Try to gain as many points as you can on easy questions. Finish the easy questions first and then return to the hard questions. Work steadily without wasting time on hard questions. You can skip very tough test questions because you do not need to answer all the questions to score high in the test.

  7. Read answer choices carefully: Make sure that you read all the answer choices carefully before marking your answer sheet. Ensure that you are marking on answer against the correct answer number. Check the answer sheets regularly to make sure that you are marking answers in the right place. Write your answers to grid-ins in the boxes above the ovals and check the ovals and the boxes to ensure that they match.

  8. Do not carry extra sheets of paper: You can do all your scratch work in the test book itself.

  9. Try educated guessing: Educated guessing is in fact an effective way of answering when you are able to eliminate at least one answer to a multiple-choice question.

  10. Remember to take a calculator on the test day: Having a calculator saves time although you might not feel the need to use one.


In addition to the above PSAT tips, it is important to remember that you need to be diligent and focused in your preparation. Also, it is helpful to prepare holistically for the test so that you are preparing for the SAT at the same time. You can use the PSAT tips to prepare for the SAT as well. Doing so reduces the preparation time as you near the SAT test. The PSAT and the SAT are both a test of your knowledge and skills to use the knowledge appropriately in the given test duration. Thus, you first need to ensure that you have your basic concepts covered and then practice as much as you can under test conditions. This will help you to score more than average in the PSAT, thereby opening the avenue to securing scholarships.

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