The purpose of the PSAT is to give students and parents an idea of what a score could be on the SAT. Usually, when students take the exam as sophomores they are truly unfamiliar with the content and nature of the test; and consequently, most do not score well. (I’ve had students go up as much as 250 points on the critical reading alone when they ultimately take the SAT!)
When students take the exam again as juniors, they are more aware of the nature of the exam and more mature in their cognitive thinking skills. That said, it’s a more accurate gauge of how they would score on the SAT. The junior PSAT is also used as one of the criteria for National Merit Scholarship.
Should students prepare for the PSAT? The ideal approach to test preparation is to take the PSAT Workshop as a sophomore. I would typically not recommend tutoring for tenth graders. The PSAT Workshop will review some of the core strategies of the more protracted (P)SAT prep tutorial programs and provide students with an effective test-taking mindset.
Preparation for the junior PSAT could begin with tutoring over the summer and/or fall or with the Workshop – a good last-minute option. When students begin working on the skills prior to the PSAT, it takes some of the pressure off of SAT preparation. Also, by beginning preparation at this time, we are able to get a better sense of what would be the better exam for the student: SAT or ACT? (You can also get a quick, free assessment to ascertain which is the better exam for your teen: ACT vs SAT Assessment Quiz.
Still have questions about the best game plan for your teen? Schedule your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session.
I look forward to connecting with you!