How to Prepare for the PSAT — Create a Game Plan!

The PSAT is just around the corner. However, students should NOT be stressed about this exam, as it is basically a PRACTICE exam! (For more about the PSAT and its purpose, check out my most recent blog: ) Students should use this test as a learning tool to better prepare for the SAT/ACT. Students should be focusing on their game plan, not on acing the PSAT.

Football players have a set season: a set training schedule, a set of scheduled games, and a set of strategic game plans. A good coach motivates players to stick with the schedule and be ready for game day. Training is involved. Practice. Confidence. Test takers, too, should have game-days planned in advance. It is crucial that students have a pre-determined plan for tackling standardized tests in order to be in control, perform at their absolute best, and succeed on test day.

  1. Take a PSAT and an ACT as soon as possible. (The October PSAT scores do not come out until December, so students should take a practice exam on their own to get an immediate score. Go to your high school guidance office to obtain these exams.)
  2. Compare the PSAT score to the ACT score. Go to for the comparison chart.
  3. Think about taking both exams if the scores are the same. (In this case I recommend starting with SAT preparation since SAT skill building increases ACT scores but not the other way around.)
  4. Plan on taking and studying for only one of the exams if the scores are significantly higher on one test.
  5. Go to to see when the tests are offered and create a timeline.
  6. Create a study plan based on this timeline.

Once a game plan is set, stick to it! This will ensure that goals are set, worked towards, and reached. Also, the testing schedule is very tight, and changing things around only prolongs the process. The test schedule also depends on the student’s areas of expertise, personal schedule and college choices. Remember that final exams, AP exams, SAT II’s, concerts, games, etc. also need to be fit in. High school students tend to be extremely overloaded!

All students are different! Some may hit a home-run their first try. Others may need to take the test three times before hitting their marks (which is not uncommon). Therefore, plan on taking the tests multiple times.

Are you now thoroughly confused? More stressed than before? Relax! Next week we will give you some sample game plans.

Weekly Word

Paradox (noun): An opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.

Paul voiced his paradoxical belief often. He continually shouted, “The world is flat.”

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