What You Need to Know about the PSAT


A. Guo

A graphic describing the article

The PSAT, or preliminary SAT (a standardized test used in many college admissions), is coming up on Wednesday, October 16th and some Green Level High School students are preparing to take the exam, while others plan to take it in later years. 

Some basic information for students who are taking the exam is that it is taking place between 7:25-11:25 am, and if you are late you will not be allowed to take it. Also make sure you bring two number two pencils and an approved calculator on test day. Regarding testing locations, find the room number you will be testing in on this link

The PSAT is an important exam because it gives opportunities to help you qualify for scholarships and academic recognition when you are a junior. The question is, why are students taking the PSAT as sophomore and freshman? 

Faith Kim, Green Level Sophomore, says she is taking the PSAT, “to be able to practice my skills and check my progress, so I can prepare for the SAT.” The case was the same for all of the other students I interviewed. According to U.S. News, these exams can differ from your grades in class, so they will provide a useful benchmark tool for when you are studying for the SAT, or trying to qualify for a scholarship as a junior. Checking your progress is most useful with prep as Hannah Muniz says, since it will let you see what score you would get on the SAT with prep. With this said, studying for the test is important for a lot of people. 

Kim’s strategy to studying is, “by practicing SAT problems. Since the SAT is harder than the PSAT, if I can solve the SAT problems the PSAT should be no problem.” Kim is correct because according to Vero Lecocq, SAT questions are generally a little more difficult as the questions tend to be more abstract. Another difference PrepScholar pointed out is that SAT is also 15 minutes longer in time compared to the PSAT, but the PSAT has more time per question (on the Math No Calculator subsection). 

Some students study using other resources, like Green Level Sophomore Sapna Kamath. She says, “I’m studying for the PSAT through the booklet that I got from student services, and I’m also using Khan Academy.” These are free resources that are good to take advantage of in addition to online tests. If you are willing to pay, there are also a plentiful amount of textbooks from companies like CollegeBoard, Barron’s, and Princeton Review which you can find in stores and online. 

The Gator’s Eye wishes everyone good luck on the exam, and will cover the PACT in November, when it is taking place.