Should you prepare for the PSAT?


The answer used to be 'only if you are in 11th grade and want to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program'.


But things have changed. The College Board encourages school districts to use PSAT data to help decide student readiness for AP classes and there is speculation that the PSAT results will continue to be a second pathway to PARCC for high school graduation. Many schools are now encouraging 9th and 10th grade students to take the exam along with the juniors.


It is important to know that there are three things about the PSAT that are different from day-to-day school work.

  • Grammar is rarely studied in school anymore. Rather students 'pick-it-up' as part of their assignments in different subjects. This means that students tend to rely on something 'sounding right' rather than understanding and applying the rules of grammar.

  • There are two math sections, one with a calculator and one without. For some students the no calculator section is stressful because they have been able to use a calculator at will for the last several years. Other students can find the math sections stressful because the topics are randomly presented; a measurement problem could be followed by an algebra problem which could then be followed by a geometry problem rather than having the problems grouped together like they are in school.

  • Reading on the PSAT should be approached as reading for comprehension not like Close Reading which is the Common Core reading focus. If a student uses Close Reading on the PSAT they will be unlikely to finish in the allotted time.


At Academic Journeys we have developed three coaching sessions that focus students to prepare for and have confidence as they take this exam:

  • Grammar

  • Reading and Interpreting Data

  • Math to know for the PSAT.

Each session is an hour long, cost is $95hr, and includes material.   An Actual Conditions PSAT test is also available.


Let me know if you would like to schedule sessions!


All the best,