The PSAT is given only once a year. in October. In 1996 high schools will administer the PSAT/NMSQT on either Tuesday, October 15 , or Saturday, October 19 . Some people take it multiple times, in their sophomore and junior years. Taking the PSAT in the tenth grade can be good practice, but students who do so, because they are not as far along in the educational process, tend to have lower scores than those who take it in their junior year.
Think of the PSAT as practice, because that is what it is designed for. Your scores are not usually sent to any college unless you specifically request it. Even then, they do not count for admission. Most schools want to see your scores on the SAT or ACT and will use the PSAT only as a basis for sending you recruitment literature.
Start by registering for the PSAT/NMSQT at your school. Once you have signed up, you will receive a bulletin that gives you sample tests, preparation hints, and eligibility r quirements for National Merit Scholarships. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards about 4000 scholarships each year, as well as additional scholarships given specifically to minority students. The most important factor in preparing for the PSAT is to become familiar with the format. Take the practice tests in the bulletin. Be sure you understand what the questions ask for. If you have trouble with any of the concepts, talk to one of your teachers or to your counselor.
Chances are, any problems you may have will be due to the way the question is phrased rather than the question itself. It is a good idea to become familiar with how directions on the test are given, and with taking a test under time pressure. Skip over questions you do not know the answers to until you have answered all the ones you do know. Then go back and answer as many f the more difficult questions as you can. Above all, get used to the idea of taking a test in a relaxed but alert frame of mind. If you are a person who tends to panic on a test, the PSAT is a good place to practice, since you know that the scores will not count. There are coaching classes available for the PSAT, but I do not recommend taking them. You get a much more valid sense of strengths and weaknesses going into the tests on your own. hen, when you get your scores back six weeks later, you will know just what areas you need to work on. If you decide to get special coaching for the SAT, you will have a better idea o what to spend time working to improve on. One way you can prepare for the verbal section, no matter what specific strengths or limits you have, is to develop the habit of reading. Only through reading on your own will you develop the vocabulary necessary to really do well on this section of the test. You may also want to look at some of the books that cover preparation for the SAT. These usually include several sample tests as well as hints for general test taking.
For information about scholarship programs contact:National Merit Scholarship Corporation
Copyright 1995 - 1997 --
Educational On-Line Inc.