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How can I improve my PSAT score?

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Hello! How can I improve my PSAT score? I took it my sophomore year and got an 880, which is pretty low. My school doesn't have the best academics and mostly everyone in my class got below an 800. It was crazy! However, I'm going to retake it during my junior year. Any advice?

Princeton
PSAT
sophomore
junior
grades

5 answers

answered on
6
votes

One of the best resources for improving your PSAT or SAT score is Khan Academy's free Personalized SAT practice. They have both the math and the reading/writing sections. If you link your CollegeBoard account to Khan Academy, it will take your results from your PSAT, look at the questions you got right and wrong, and create specialized practice problems for you to help you find out what you don't know and how to learn it. They have normal questions, timed mini-sections, and even full practice SAT tests. I definitely recommend using all of the resources they give you, as they cost you nothing and have a partnership with CollegeBoard.

answered on
3
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First of all the PSAT is only an indicator of future SAT performance not a required test for any college. Therefore skip worrying about the PSAT and focus on the SAT or ACT. I say SAT or ACT because both of these tests carry equal weight with college admissions and you might find one easier or better suited for your style of test-taking. Take an SAT and ACT practice test and figure out which one you score better on and then focus your studies on that. Personally I tested one ranking higher on the ACT so I decided to skip the SAT entirely. I spent 200 hours on the SAT and about 20 hours on the ACT and still scored higher on the ACT. But each person will have different outcomes. If you prefer the SAT, use Kahn Academy. If you like the ACT, the ACT has its' own practice problems. Plus you can get full tests on Reddit and other blogs that you can download and practice. The official guides to the SAT or ACT are key materials you need to study with because they contain both the practice problems that appear on the tests plus 4-8 real practice tests. Keep taking practice tests and reviewing all the answers you get wrong and write them in a notebook "problems I got wrong" or something like that. Set realistic goals like breaking 1000, 1100 or 1200 and don't get frustrated. Practice tests are curved so sometimes your score goes up and then it goes down a little. But if you are doing the work and putting time and effort into it you will see an upward trend. Good luck!

maybe this person wants to be a national merit scholar? even then, i wouldn't say to forget about the psat entirely since it is a precursor for the sat. studying for the psat is basically the same as studying for the sat. it wouldn't hurt to study for the psat and actually try as it can better prepare you for the sat. if you take the psat, you can link khan academy & college board to see your weak spots to repair those for the sat.
National Merit Scholars last year were getting scores of 1470-1520 out of 1520, so neither the author nor myself thinks is a reasonable goal in 1 testing cycle which is this October.
answered on
3
votes

Hi, congrats on choosing to retake the PSAT! As others have mentioned, Khan Academy is a great resource for PSAT/SAT preparation. Although it is meant for SAT preparation, you could also use it in studying for the PSAT. Be sure to link your CollegeBoard account as Khan Academy will import your 2019 PSAT score, and customize the curriculum towards your needs (based on your struggles and successes in the previous PSAT). From there, you can create a plan through Khan Academy, which will incorporate questions from the Math and English sections as well as periodic practice tests to evaluate your growing progress.

Other than Khan Academy, I would recommend purchasing or borrowing a Princeton Review PSAT (or SAT) book, and also study according to the plan that is presented in the publication you end up obtaining. I've personally used Princeton Review, and love how the book is laid out. Quality alternatives include Barron's or Kaplan's test prep.

Lastly, I am currently using John Jung's SAT Math 28-day preparation course. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjhQL5afilI for more information. It's great—he gives you a calendar that you can stick to, along with lessons and worksheets to do during the lessons. If you have questions, you can join the Facebook group which is linked in the description of the video and is quick to answer them. 10/10, highly recommend it.

I wish you the best on this journey to study for the PSAT and SAT. It is a long, rigorous and tiring one, but well worth it in the end! Congrats!

answered on
3
votes

Like @ajdekoninck said, the best resource to improve is using Khan Academy's personalized practice that is linked with your College Board account. Not only is it tailored specifically for you, but it's also very thorough in explantations and allows you to brush up on skills that you even got right on the test. There are also several PSAT self-prep books out there that you can borrow for free at your local library (Barrons, The Princeton Review, McGraw Hill just to name a few. You can simply google PSAT prep books and the entire list should show up). College Board also has two practice tests to take; and there are plenty of YouTube channels dedicated to PSAT prep (SuperTutorTV is my personal favorite). One last resource I would suggest is a site called Reason Prep. I'm actually using it right now to also self-study for the PSAT and so far it seems great. It goes through the 1st practice test with you to teach you certain strategies you can use during the test and it takes time to also review each answer and explain why the answer is either correct or incorrect. It is self-paced and best of all FREE.

Just remember that when self-studying for the PSAT to actually use the resources that you get to study. On my first try without any studying, I got a 1300 and the next summer I got a prep book from my library but didn't take the practice test included. I don't even think I finished the book now that I think about it. And when I took it again, I was shocked to only increase by 40 points. But I learned the tough lesson that you have to stay committed to self-study. If you don't commit, you don't see the results, you know?

I'm glad to see someone else is studying for the PSAT as well! :) Hope this helps. Good luck and happy studying!

answered on
-2
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The PSAT really only has 2 big impact if you are “elite” you can get scholarships but otherwise it is a benchmark for all intents and purposes as it serves to be an “official practice test”. The PSAT score doesn’t matter unless you have a very high score even if you got a 400 or a 1200 it doesn’t matter.