PSAT Prep and Practice Information

For many students, preparing to take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) can often be a daunting and intimidating task. Keep reading to learn about some study tips that help your teen prepare for this exam.

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Preparation for the PSAT Exam

Enroll in Challenging Classes

If you know your child is going to take the PSAT, it's a good idea to encourage him to sign up for challenging classes in school. The PSAT can be a difficult exam and taking harder classes will better prepare him for the type of questions he'll find on the test. Furthermore, if he is successful in the classes, it may increase his level of confidence, which in turn may help him perform better on the PSAT as well.

Read Often

In general, the more people read, the more they tend to grow academically. Be sure your child is reading often because it can play a vital role in achieving success on the PSAT. It also helps if she diversifies the material she reads and learns about a variety of different topics. The PSAT will cover a lot of material, but if she's read books on different topics, she'll be more familiar with the content than most people who take the test.

Build Vocabulary

One aspect of the PSAT that causes many students to struggle is the vocabulary. Not only are there specific questions about various vocabulary words, but some of the material students have to read contain challenging words that can hinder comprehension. For this reason, taking the time to learn new words on a consistent basis can make a big difference on the day of the test. You can have your child learn a certain amount of words from the dictionary daily or weekly, or you can find PSAT and SAT word lists on the Internet for him to study.

Know the Test

To properly prepare and practice for the PSAT, it's also important to know what types of questions are actually on the test. You and your child may also want to look at the test's format to get an idea of how long each section will take. Some basic information about the three main sections is provided below.

Critical Reading: Students will complete sentences to demonstrate their knowledge of vocabulary and proper sentence structure. They will also read various passages and answer critical thinking questions.

Complex Math: For the math section, several skills will be tested involving students' understanding of operations, geometry, algebra and statistics. Students are allowed to use a calculator during the exam.

Writing Skills: The writing section asks multiple-choice questions that test students' mastery of grammar. Primarily students will have to demonstrate the ability to identify sentence errors and improve sentences and paragraphs.

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