How to Get An Early Jump On the PSAT
Most high school juniors, and even some sophomores, will be taking the PSAT in October. Want to get a jump on the test and be ready before everyone else? Follow these steps.
- Mark the date on your calendar. It's always good to be prepared for when things will happen! Depending on your school's scheduling preferences, the PSAT will be administered either on Wednesday, October 11, or Saturday, October 14. Go to your school's website to find out which date the test will be offered. Some schools choose to administer the PSAT in the spring; if yours is one of them, you can relax for a few months.
- Don't worry about registering quite yet, but look out for registration at the start of the school year. Schools often send students home with registration forms, or may send out a mass mailing directly to your home. Both methods of spreading the word are prone to slipping through the cracks. Make sure you're looking for PSAT registration information soon after the start of the school year. If you don't hear anything, contact your school's counseling office, whose administrators are likely the ones coordinating the exam
- Download a free, official PSAT practice exam this summer. At the beginning of the school year, the College Board usually mails hard copies of practice PSAT exams to schools. Many schools, however, neglect to distribute them, or may give them to students too close to the actual PSAT test date. It turns out that the College Board offers two free, official PSAT practice tests on its website. You can download and print one today by going here.
- Take the practice PSAT under timed conditions. There's no better preparation for a standardized test than to take an official one in full and timed. The length of each section is provided on the first page of its respective section: Reading (60 min), Writing & Language (35 min), Math–No Calculator (25 min), and Math–Calculator (45 min). Note that the timing and number of questions on certain sections of the PSAT are slightly different from those of their corresponding sections on the SAT. (If you're on Long Island, consider taking a practice test at one of our centers!)
- Review your practice test results. Also on the College Board website are answer explanations for all of the questions on each practice exam. Use them! Now's the time to hone your skills by exposing your weaknesses and learning how to fix them. A little bit of work now can pay off in spades later. If you find you're struggling to review the test on your own, consider a session with one of our expert tutors, who can help you learn the strategies and content you need to do your best on the real PSAT!