The Enlightened Life: A community blog

PSAT Summer Studying Strategies

Written by Emilie Smetak, Community blogger | May 23, 2012 5:47 PM

Many incoming sophomores and juniors will be taking the PSAT test in the fall. The PSAT not only serves as a practice test for the SAT, but also an opportunity for academically advanced juniors to quality for the National Merit Scholarship. Despite the circumstances, all students, myself included, are looking for ways to improve their scores. That is why I have compiled a list of summer preparation steps, which I have personally found useful. Following these steps can drastically boost your exam score, while potentially ranking you among the top of the PSAT test takers from across the nation.

Anyone who has already taken the PSAT knows that math counts. Big time. Geometry in particular makes up a considerable percentage of the math related problems. These questions can be a breeze if you are familiar with the formulas, but a real killer if not. If you want to be on the clear side, make formula flashcards for the equations, like the area of a pyramid and the circumpherence of a circle, and review them for a minimum of ten minutes each day.

Reading comprehension is also a significant portion of the test. For some reason, many students shy away from this section even though ample preparation can turn it into one of the easier portions. The simplest and most effective acing strategy is to read on a regular basis. Fortunately, the genre is not important so long as it is a more challenging literary work. This way there are plenty of unfamiliar words. When you come to a word whose definition you are unsure about, try to first derive its meaning from the context of the sentence. Then look it up in the dictionary. By doing this, you are expounding your vocabulary as well as practicing comprehension skills.

Aim to learn the definitions of three new words a day. As stated above, this can most easily be done through reading. You can intermittingly substitute vocabulary studying for prefix memorization. When it comes time to take the test, prefixes can give you clues to the meaning of the word if you are unsure about its definition.

The most common studying approach is to purchase a PSAT prep books from a local book store. These books usually include studying strategies, test taking tips, and practice problems. Some even include a complete practice exam. Although these books are undeniably helpful, they can't stand alone. Implement the previously mentioned strategies for the best results.

Happy studying and good luck to all of you come fall.

Published in The Enlightened Life: A community blog

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