Along with the SAT, the SAT Suite of Assessments includes the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and PSAT/NMSQT. These exams act as a prelude to the actual SAT though the questions are easier than the SAT. PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 happen during the spring and this year they have got canceled due to the COVID 19 Pandemic. The primary test date for PSAT/NMSQT is 14 October and the Saturday test is on 17 October. The alternate test date is 28 October.
The 11th graders and sometimes the 10th graders take the PSAT/NMSQT.
Firstly, for the US citizens this is a qualifying exam for National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic program for recognition and scholarship.
Secondly, PSAT helps you gauge your strengths and weaknesses under real circumstances. Though SAT can be taken multiple times, it might not reflect great on your profile. Remember PSAT tests the same skills as SAT. In Math Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math are tested. The Reading Section tests on Words in Context and Command in Evidence, while the Writing Section tests on Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions. The essay however is not tested on PSAT. The score you get in PSAT will be the same that you will get on SAT if you had taken it on the same day.
Finally, taking PSAT will help you gain confidence to tackle the SAT.
As the PSAT is not considered for the college admissions, students do not concentrate on PSAT as much as they do for SAT. But remember the preparation that you are making for PSAT will help you in your SAT prep too. Also the student gets to access an extensive score report that not just gives the scores but also the percentiles and the benchmarks. The report also gives the strengths and weaknesses in the different sections of the test. This can be used to map the SAT prep.
The PSAT prep, like all other preps, has moved online courtesy the COVID pandemic. Though the market has a good number of books for self-prep, it is advisable to get trained for the PSAT with professional help. The training can happen online either in a group or on an individual basis. Time tested strategies, standardized practice materials, and regular tests that can be downloaded or taken online.
The student can start with a diagnostic test to see where he/ she stands. This will help in setting the goals and in scheduling a preparation plan.
So don’t let your summer vacation go in vain. Strengthen your PSAT muscles with online training and resources. Remember College Board has enough practice materials for PSAT too. Also you can register for the SAT question of the day app. Once the dust settles, you will be in a position to crack the PSAT.
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