The preliminary qualifying test for SAT / National Merit scholarships, or SPAT, is administered to second-year and upper-secondary students in October of each year. In 2018, students will take the nearly three-hour exam on October 10, 13 or 24, depending on the date of their high school chooses.
Since many students view the PSAT as a test of the SAT, fewer studies for the PSAT than for the SAT. But to maximize the PSAT, high school students should consider spending time during the summer preparing for the exam.
Here are three facts that can help you get the most out of summer PSAT preparation and minimize confusion between PSAT and SAT.
The more difficult SAT questions do not appear on the PSAT. As you prepare for PSAT this summer, focus on these three math areas: Heart of Algebra, which assesses your understanding of linear equations and systems of equations; Problem solving and data analysis; and Passport to Advanced Math, which measures your ability to work with complex equations.
While the math section of the PSAT is not limited to these three topics, it places more emphasis on them. The College Board considers these topics to be important for a range of college majors and careers.
In the reading part of the test, students will have to show evidence command skills or the ability to closely examine evidence used in particular passages. Applicants will also be expected to demonstrate the ability to analyze passages focused on history, social studies, and scientific topics, as well as the ability to analyze the meaning of words from context.
The writing and language portion measures the same skills as the reading portion, but students should use them to improve a given passage. Students will also be asked to assess the structure, use, punctuation and organization of sentences in this part of the test.
It is important to note that the PSAT does not include the more difficult types of questions that appear on the SAT. This is especially true in the math part, although it also applies to other sections. This is one of the reasons that SAT study materials can be great resources if you find that you need more preparation – they can introduce you to the wide range of question types that you will eventually be faced with. on the day of the SAT test, while remaining relevant to the PSAT.
The PSAT does not include an essay. On the one hand, this makes the PSAT shorter and more concise, and it reflects the fact that the SAT test is optional. On the flip side, the absence of an essay means students forgo the practice of writing which can be essential for those considering completing the SAT essay.
For students who find it difficult to write more generally but need to take the SAT essay, or think they may need it, it may be beneficial to start developing their SAT writing skills right away.
As you outline your PSAT prep schedule, allow extra time for writing practice.
PSAT preparation is an opportunity to determine which SAT study strategies are right for you. All high school students who are considering taking the SAT should take the PSAT as it gives you the chance to assess your strengths and weaknesses in an authentic setting.
While taking practice tests is a great method of SAT study, practice exams cannot mimic the real test conditions that the PSAT is designed to emulate.
Another advantage of taking the PSAT is that students receive a detailed score report afterwards. here is an example of the College Council. The score report includes your performance on each type of question, the difficulty level of each question, and suggested next steps to improve your skills.
But you can go further. As you review your score report, think about the study strategies you used. Which ones were effective and for what types of questions? Which are not worth carrying over to the SAT?
You can see the PSAT as a chance to test potential preparation techniques. Take note of the strategies you use while studying for the PSAT.
Students should spend part of their summer vacation preparing for the October PSAT. The first step is to become familiar with the areas and types of questions that the test emphasizes and plan your study efforts accordingly. It is also helpful to understand the value of the PSAT and to learn how to use your score report to your advantage after it arrives.