PSAT (Preliminary SAT) is a standardized test particularly designed for 10th and 11th graders across the U.S. The College Board is responsible for making and administering PSAT test. The test is also known as NMSQT (the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) because the NMSC (the National Merit Scholarship Corporation) uses it to select students for the National Merit Scholarship. We must say that it’s a competition rather than a simple exam.
PSAT test details
High school freshmen and sophomores are eligible for taking the exam but only juniors qualify for the competition. According to an estimate, more than 3 million students take this test every year at different high schools. The main purpose of taking PSAT is to prepare for the SAT test and take part in the national competition where you can win a scholarship. Note that PSAT isn’t mandatory for the SAT. However, if you want to get familiar with the SAT, PSAT can provide you with some help. The average price for taking the PSAT test is $16, though, the price may vary depending on your school Download Free.
Reasons to take the PSAT test
Well, PSAT is a great chance to earn a scholarship. So, why would someone say no to such an incredible opportunity? The most important reason why students take this test is that it helps them understand the basic layout of the SAT test. So, it’s an early opportunity for juniors that want to get a feel of SAT. Another great advantage of taking this test is that it highlights the strengths and weaknesses of students so they may prepare for the SAT test better.
The major reason why a huge number of students take this test every year is that it helps them in winning the National Merit scholarship. According to a recent survey, more than 7000 students win a $2,500 scholarship in the final test.
PSAT test questions
There is a great similarity between PSAT and SAT if we talk about the format and content. PSAT test is divided into three sections including Math, Writing and Language and Reading. The major difference between PSAT and SAT is that PSAT doesn’t have the optional essay section. The Math section is further divided into two sections where the calculator is allowed for only one section. The interesting thing about PSAT is that most of the questions on the test are multiple-choice. However, the Math test comes with a few grid-in questions. The candidates need to create an accurate answer to these questions.
Number of questions and time
The Reading test consists of 47 multiple-choice questions that are supposed to be completed within 60 minutes (1 hour). There are 3-4 passages included in this section. These passages are taken from subjects like History, World Literature and Science and accompanied by questions. Make sure that you carefully read the complete passage before answering the questions.
The Writing and Language test comes with 44 multiple-choice questions that will test your ability to identify and fix the grammatical errors. The duration of this test is 35 minutes.
The Math test comes with 47 questions. The candidates won’t be allowed to use the calculator for one of the sections which last for 25 minutes. However, the calculator is allowed for another 45-minute section. The 17 per cent of the Math test consists of grid-in questions while the rest of the test includes multiple-choice questions.
The total score for the PSAT test is 1520 and the total time allowed for the test is around 3.5 hours.
Does your PSAT score actually matter?
Well, PSAT test isn’t as important as the SAT because the colleges won’t ask you to take PSAT test for admission. Moreover, it won’t affect your GPA at all. In fact, if you aren’t willing to take this test, nobody will force you to do so. PSAT is just a bonus test that will make you qualify for the scholarship.
Most important test-taking strategies
The structure of PSAT is a bit different from the tests you take in school. The best part is that students love the structure of PSAT as compared to their school tests. In the PSAT test, the students can focus on questions that are easier and then move to the ones that appear to be a bit difficult. Here are a few test-taking strategies for students who are planning to take the PSAT test.
Triaging for the test
PSAT doesn’t bind you to follow any specific order. So, based on your strengths, you must start with the questions where you feel more comfortable. Your main goal of taking this test is to score as many points as you can. And that’s what you need to follow throughout the test. Thus, you’d be able to achieve the best score.
Although there is no penalty for wrong answers in PSAT, the Elimination can still be a great strategy. The chances of getting the right answer are ultimately increased if you are sure about one or two wrong answers in a question.
Guessing usually doesn’t work very well in the common school tests. But PSAT test provides you with the facility to guess the right answer. So, if you’ve eliminated one or two options from a question, there is a better chance that you’d make the right guess. However, you should only give it a try once you’ve addressed the questions where you find yourself fully confident.
PSAT is an opportunity for every 10th and 11th grader to win a scholarship. The test is divided into 3 major sections and it’s a bit easier than the traditional tests. PSAT also helps you prepare for the SAT. So, the students must give it a try if they are confident about their skills. The candidates will have a chance of getting a better score if they follow the strategies we’ve shared above.