Kayleigh is in 12th grade, this is her 2nd year in Journalism. She works at Tropical Smoothie and loves to hang out with her friends in her free time....
Preparing for the PSAT/SAT
October 5, 2022
As test day is getting closer, it’s time to buckle down and make studying a priority so you can do your best on whatever test you are taking on Oct. 12 which is College Board Testing Day. So here are tips and ideas to help you get your ideal score on either the PSAT (9th-10th graders) or SAT (11th-12th graders).
How to ace your PSAT:
Find goals and set them for yourself
Before taking the PSAT, setting goals for the score you would like to receive can push you to study more. Deciding what type of score you want to aim for can be based on what type of score you’re hoping for on the SAT. The PSAT is good preparation for the SAT which many colleges still use to determine which students they will accept. The average PSAT score is a 950, which is in the middle of the minimum (320) and the maximum (1520). Big schools like Virginia Tech want a 1170-1600 SAT score, so with knowing that you can try to reach for that on this test to help prepare you for the more important one.
Use official practice materials
By looking online there are many CollegeBoard official practice PSAT tests you can take. The link for the practice PSAT test is https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt/preparing/practice-tests/online, but you will need a login to access this. However, an alternate way would be using website where you do not need a login like, https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt/preparing/practice-tests/online. By taking these you can see how the questions are laid out, and you can also practice making the time for each section. When you finish taking these pre-made questions you can grade yourself and see your weaknesses.
Figure out weaknesses and study against those
Adding to taking the practice tests, you can take your grade and the questions you got wrong and study those more. Mentioned more in the ending of these tips Khan Academy is set to take your weaknesses and give you specific things to focus on. After taking the PSAT you will receive an email with a link to practice Khan Academy. They will give you information on why your answer was wrong and explain how to get the correct answer. If you sit down and read these explanations it will attempt you to get rid of those certain weaknesses.
Do not stress; your score does not define you
The PSAT is set for underclassmen to take to prepare them for the bigger SAT. Your score on the PSAT does not determine how good you are with any subject. The questions you receive may be tougher than what you have seen on SOL testing, so you may feel anxious after your test. However getting a bad score will not change anything about what classes you are able to take or your chances of taking the SAT. This test will help you learn more about your testing skills, some new information, and how to manage your time.
How to ace your SAT:
Use Khan Academy
After you take your PSAT, your CollegeBoard will give you Khan Academy lessons that are based on things you got wrong on the PSAT. It will show you tutorial videos on how to correctly do the problem, and practice quizzes based on that subject. Using these practices can help you also relieve stress, teach you things you may have not remembered from previous years, and allow you to understand what you could improve upon. These practices are free for you to use, and available at all times. Also, if you plan to take the SAT more than once, you can also see what you got wrong on those tests and study for your next test.
Use official SAT study books
If you go to your guidance counselor or college advisor (Ms. Kalley) they can print out practice SATs from College Board. You can reach your college advisor by emailing her at [email protected] to learn more information about each test and get practice materials. While talking with Ms.Kalley she said, “to get a better score on your SAT compared to the PSAT you should practice waking up early in the morning and taking a timed practice test.” Doing this should put you in the right environment for test day. These tests come with answer keys and explanations just like the PSAT. However, if you do not feel comfortable going to ask for this the same test can be found on the College Board website where you can take it online or print it out yourself in the library or at home. There will be tips on more ways to study and prepare yourself. With this information coming from the official website, it can help you a lot.
Start studying early
Starting early with studying will help take some of the stress away and allow you to be more successful. If you wait till the last minute you may forget information to study and be tired for your test day. When you start early you can take long brain breaks and pace yourself so you do not take too much information in at once. You should start three months before your test, and should practice every other day for about an hour. Taking this test should never strain your brain. There is no grade that goes on your transcript and most colleges since COVID-19 are test optional. Them being test optional means they do not want to see your SAT test scores, and you are not required to take or send them.
Practice making the time on each section
As students taking these high-level tests you know that each section is timed. This means you have a set time to take the test completely. This is different from the SOL testing because you cannot take all day. Each section is timed which allows you to be quick and get the test done. Some people get stressed because of the time and completing all of the questions. However, if you try to practice making the time you will not think about it as much once test day comes. As you take the practice tests and quizzes you can have a parent or guardian set a timer for you, and when it goes off you stop writing or taking the test. If you still have some questions to complete you can find a new test and keep taking it until you get the questions done within the time.