How to Pass the PSAT

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Check out this article when you're ready to prepare for the PSAT. Learn about strategies that can work for you and find out how you can get the help you need to pass this exam.

Choose Your Courses Carefully

You'll do yourself a favor by signing up for classes that will cover the subjects tested on the PSAT. Try to avoid taking math and English language arts classes that are really basic. Instead, you should look for more difficult classes that will help you expand your knowledge.

Make sure you take full advantage of these classes. Complete your assigned readings and take good notes, as these will be useful when it's time to study for the PSAT. You should also be ready to ask questions in class. If there's something you don't understand, speak up! Talking with your instructor and making sure you have a firm grasp on the information that will appear on the PSAT will help you out immensely.

Develop Good Study Habits

You should focus on completing all of your homework throughout the school year. These assignments serve as aids to prepare you for the PSAT by helping you go over the subjects and concepts that will appear on the exam. Your textbook can provide you with additional help as well. There are typically lots of extra practice questions in these books, found throughout the pages and at the end of chapters. Make sure you work on them, especially if they deal with an area you're having difficulty with.

You can also find practice questions available for use on the College Board's website. The more questions you answer, the better prepared you'll be for the PSAT.

Likewise, you will have a better chance of passing the PSAT if you're in the habit of studying for your other quizzes and tests. Get used to studying for several days (or longer!) before tests. This will give you the chance to pace your studying instead of trying to get everything in at one time. When it comes to math, try writing the steps and formulas needed to solve math equations on index cards to review. Use your tests and quizzes as a sort of 'dress rehearsal' for the PSAT. They are preparing you for this exam. Basically, the PSAT assesses key skills and knowledge you've gained throughout your years of attending school.

Understand the Exam

You'll be better prepared to pass the PSAT if you understand the kinds of questions you'll face. Almost all of the questions on the exam will be multiple choice. However, some problems in the math subtest will require you to 'grid-in' a number as your answer. The reading and writing and language subtests include passages that you will need to read before answering a series of questions.

In the same respect, it's helpful to understand the types of topics that will be included on the PSAT. The reading subtest will examine your ability to use context clues, critical thinking skills, interpret information, and verify evidence. The writing and language subtest will see how well you can analyze information, understand grammar and punctuation usage, use words in the appropriate context, and writing context. The math subtest will verify your knowledge of geometry, analyzing data, trigonometry, and algebra.

Get Extra Help

You can explore online study options as you get ready for the PSAT. offers a PSAT Prep Study Guide that can help you review the information you'll be tested on during the exam. You can check out this course to go over specific tips for the exam. You'll also be able to view video lessons that cover grammar, important terms, equations and more. This course includes quizzes that you can complete to practice answering questions similar to those found on the exam. You'll even be able to reach out to expert instructors if you have any questions.

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