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Prepare for the PSAT this Summer

Prepare for the PSAT this Summer

If you’re an upcoming junior in High School, chances are you’ve heard about the PSAT/NMSQT.  You may have even taken the PSAT already.  The PSAT/ NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardized test that not only serves as preparation for the college entry test (the SAT) but also serves as one method of receiving scholarship money for college and being recognized through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

If you would like to learn more about the test, the best source for information on scholarship opportunities and honors recognition through the PSAT/ NMSQT, is the official College Board Website located at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about/scholarships.html and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation at http://www.nationalmerit.org/index.php.

The PSAT is similar to the SAT and is tested in the fall of your junior year of high school. Like any standardized test, the PSAT is a highly structured, predictable test, and can be mastered with enough preparation and planning. You should plan the summer before your junior year to practice and prepare for this test. Studying now serves a dual purpose- it increases your chances of scoring higher on the PSAT and also prepares you to take the SAT, which is necessary for entry into college.

What you should know:

The PSAT is set up like the SAT and has a Critical Reading, Math, and Writing Section. It’s just a shortened version the SAT, so you get the experience of a timed test in a structured environment but it lasts just over 2 hours instead of the nearly 4 hours it takes to complete the SAT.

College Board offers practice and tips at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/prep.html, and your school counselor will also have the “Official Student Guide to the PSAT/ NMSQT” that contains test taking help and a full- length practice test.

Your best preparation is to spend a few months familiarizing yourself with the test format and questions, and practice, practice, practice. We generally recommend a minimum of 3 months study time for any standardized test, so beginning your studies some time during the summer will give you enough time to prepare well. You can also use SAT resources to prepare since the tests are similar. Always use released tests to prepare, however, so that you are confident the question types are similar to the real thing.

Test prep tutoring or courses will increase your chances of scoring high on the PSAT and becoming a National Merit Finalist. Contact us for preparation tips or to set up a tutoring session. Good luck and happy studying!

Article written by Shayna L. Pond and Action Potential Learning

Action Potential Learning provides private tutoring in math and science as well as standardized test prep. As math and science specialists, our tutors know and understand difficult math and science concepts and can help you improve your grades and perform on standardized tests.

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