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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Tackle Difficult PSAT Problems?

I'm finding some PSAT problems to be pretty challenging. Any advice on how to approach and solve tough PSAT questions?

6 months ago

Tackling difficult PSAT problems can be a daunting task, but breaking the process down into manageable steps can make it much easier. Here's a step-by-step approach to help you handle those challenging questions:

1. Read the question carefully: Make sure you understand exactly what the question is asking. Analyze the problem, underline keywords, and identify the main topic, to make sure you aren't unnecessarily confusing yourself by trying to answer an entirely different question.

2. Break the problem down: Simplify the problem by breaking it into smaller parts. For math questions, identify what operations are required or translate word problems into equations. For reading questions, try to locate the passage section related to the question. For writing questions, determine what grammatical or stylistic rule is being tested. Even if there are still some elements you don't understand, having a general sense of what's going on can guide your thinking in a more productive direction.

3. Use process of elimination: Analyze each answer choice and eliminate those that are clearly incorrect. This will narrow down your options and improve your odds of guessing correctly if needed.

4. Double-check your work: After selecting an answer, review your calculations, analysis, and reasoning to make sure you haven't made a simple mistake.

5. Manage your time: Don't spend too much time on difficult questions. If you're really stuck, make an educated guess, flag the problem, and move on. You can return to it later if time permits, but no question is worth more than any other, so you don't want to dedicate excessive time to one question at the expense of the others.

6. Keep practicing: The more you practice, the more comfortable you'll become with various question types and problem-solving strategies. Use official PSAT practice tests, review books, and online resources, such as the College Board website or CollegeVine (https://www.collegevine.com/category/standardized-tests/psat), to familiarize yourself with the test format and difficulty.

Remember that you'll continue to improve as you practice, so stay patient and persistent. Finally, if there's a specific concept that keeps tripping you up, consider connecting with a tutor, or even simply reaching out to your high school teacher in that subject, for clarification. Good luck with your PSAT prep - you've got this!

6 months ago

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