PSAT prep Home

Learn about Ted’s PSAT prep strategy that got him a “228
PSAT Score” and how it can benefit YOU.


What does it take to be a PSAT winner?

If you think it is only knowledge that will make you a PSAT Winner, think again.
Knowledge can only take you so far!

There are scores of successful MBAs, Consultants, and even Doctorates who,
when they took the PSAT, did not manage to get a 99 percentile.

You need the other ‘intangible’ qualities & smart Studying Strategies to make it
work.

Go through this ‘Free’ Website and:

Learn about the common PSAT pitfalls & how to avoid them

Learn how PSAT Winners improve their reading skills

Brush up your grammar in our Special ‘PSAT Grammar’ section

Of course, you cannot forget the all important PSAT Vocabulary section

This section does not give you thousands of ‘dry’ words with meaning.

It provides you with 1100 most important PSAT words, and clearly illustrates their usage in
sentences.

Ted, a PSAT Winner,  & an NMSQT Finalist Describes his Preparation Strategy
in his Own Words

My Overall Strategy

Time Management

The most important thing for me while preparing for the PSAT was to make sure I managed my
time well. I was taking a full course load and working part time when I started studying, so it
was really important to have a structured schedule where I would be sure to dedicate time to
my PSAT.

I started preparing about 3 months before the test, and set aside 2 hours a day during the
week and 4 hours a day on weekends to study. Some days I would study out of the review
guides, reviewing the content areas. Other days I would work on passage sets. Every Sunday I
took a timed full-length practice PSAT. Every day I would spend 15 or 30 minutes reviewing
what I had learned the day before.
I created a to-do list for myself and put all these tasks on it on a weekly basis. This helped me
stick to my schedule and make progress in my studies.

Pacing

I always took one task at a time before checking it off my to-do list. For example, if I still hadn’t
finished reviewing algebra, I would not jump forward to geometry.

I also took regular breaks during my study sessions. It’s impossible to go for hours at a time
and stay focused and sharp, so I would take a 15 minute break every two hours to relax before
hitting the books again. This way I was able to stay motivated and I wasn’t ready to quit after a
couple of hours in the library. Taking regular breaks also helped me to relieve some stress
and process the material I had studied.

Rewards

Every time I finished a full-length PSAT practice test, I would reward myself. I would take the
rest of the afternoon off from studying, or go to a movie, or spend time with my friends. Again
this was a great motivator for me to keep going.

Some days it felt like I couldn’t possibly crack open another practice test, but knowing that I
couldn’t take my reward break until I checked off everything on my to-do list kept me going.

Attitude

Let’s be honest, the PSAT doesn’t exactly spell excitement for most of us. But it’s important that
we keep a positive attitude about it because it will help us learn and remember. This was an
important part of my strategy for beating the PSAT. I tried to stay interested in the material and
excited about mastering it. I kept myself focused on my future in college where I would commit
to a lifelong of learning. The way I saw it, the PSAT was just the first step in that process.

PSAT Course / Books that I followed

The Official Guide
If you have to read only one book for the PSAT, this is the one!!
I used this to brush up the areas that I found myself weak In from the initial
Diagnostic test.
You should thoroughly read all explanations to understand why an answer is
correct and another one wrong.

McGraw-Hill’s PSAT/NMSQT
Contrary to what a lot of people think, the PSAT  MEASURES YOUR ABILITY TO THINK
CRITICALLY! This test is not designed by ETS just to test your ‘test taking’ skills. This is even
more true if you want to become an NMSQT finalist!
The PSAT is not simply a test of “how well you know how do take multiple choice tests” . It’s a
test of reasoning skills, and only students who improve those reasoning skills can hope to see
great PSAT or SAT score improvements

”McGraw-Hill’s PSAT” provides tons of practice for students who want to work on improving
their reasoning skills, and plenty of diagnostic tests with substantial answer explanations.

However, this book does have some typos so be forewarned!

Kaplan PSAT verbal and Math Workbooks to go over some of the basic
material that I identified I needed brushing up.

Princeton review verbal work out.
This is supposedly good for Verbal prep, but I think the Kaplan book offers better
insights.

My Study Strategy

I didn’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy that I applied to all of the sections of the PSAT.
Different problems required different plans of attack. In some situations, I would just read the
material to myself and that would be enough. Other times I needed to read it out loud so I
could hear myself say it. Sometimes I would write it out in my own words to help me learn it.
Sometimes I would go so far as to outline the material or sketch out some concepts.

Mnemonic devices were really helpful, and my Kaplan study guide had a lot of helpful ones
that I made sure to memorize.

• Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

My strategy was to predict the word that should go in each blank as I read the sentence. Then
I simply looked for an answer choice that matched my prediction. Of course it helps to have a
strong vocab here.

• Critical Reading: Reading Comprehension

At first, I simply skimmed each passage to get the so called ‘Central Idea’. I did’nt really worry
about the details as I could always check them out later. I then jumped straight to the
questions that directed me to the exact place in the passage to get the answer.

• Writing: Multiple-Choice
I read the questions and then tried to think of a simple, clear way to express the content. If an
answer choice sounded awkward or over complicated, that is probably the incorrect choice.
This strategy helped me in both sections, Improving Sentences, as well as Sentence Error.

• Math: Multiple-Choice
Math has always been my weak area. And I knew if I have to crack the NMSQT, I need to
really work on this one. I tried to study from the more difficult guides for ‘GRE’ and ‘SAT’ after I
had covered the basics. Even though I could use a calculator, I decided not to rely on it too
much, because the PSAT questions do not really involve complicated calculations, and you can
end up wasting a whole lot of time if you use the calculator.

I was armed with all the short cuts in case I got stuck despite my best efforts. I learnt about
short-cuts like back-plugging and eliminations etc.

• Math: Grid-In
Since these questions do not carry negative marks, I knew that I had to take an educated
guess even if I could not solve it. Fortunately, in my test, I did not really have to resort to that
option!

Exam Day
I was a little nervous before the exam. I knew that I really, really wanted that NMSQT
scholarship and had to score at least 223 (My state’s cut off last year) to stand a chance. Now
with that kind of a target, it is not easy to relax!
It sounds obvious, but there is no stressing how important a good night’s sleep is before the
PSAT. It’s a test of your endurance as much as anything else, so you want to be well rested
and ready to tackle the test. I went to the testing center early to make sure I wasn’t held up by
traffic.  Tried to forget all about the results/NMSQT scholarship etc and just focused on those
two hours.

Finally, I must admit all the effort paid off with an awesome score of 228!

So, that was how Ted did it.

Ted was a student of mypsat and employed the exclusive strategies to increase his score
dramatically.

You can find detailed strategies for each of the PSAT sections, and tips for scoring 99
percentile+ in the ebook Ways of the PSAT (NMSQT) Winners.

This guide was originally prepared exclusively for students who take private coaching from
mypsat.com.

Now it is being made available for anyone who is aiming at 99 percentile score on the PSAT.

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