The Preliminary Standardized Aptitude Test (PSAT) provides an overview of a student’s scholastic aptitude. More than three and a half million students take the PSAT test every year. High school juniors make up the largest percent of PSAT test takers, with sophomores and freshmen lagging behind them. The majority of students who plan to take the PSAT test plan to attend college. The PSAT score report provides the documented performance of test takers on the PSAT test.

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The PSAT exam measures the student’s competency in three academic areas, including critical reading, mathematics, and writing. Students who demonstrate their ability to make inferences, distinguish between main and supporting ideas, and understand vocabulary context will average higher PSAT scores. Mathematically-inclined students exercise their problem-solving abilities when dealing with numbers, operations, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, and statistics. Students who understand the core principles in mathematics will average high PSAT scores. In addition, students who want to pass the exam with high PSAT scores need to know how to write. The PSAT writing section measures the students’ ability to identify sentence errors, understand expressions in Standard American English, choose effective revisions to sentences and paragraphs, and select the correct writing strategies.

Students receive one point for answering each answer correctly on the PSAT test. Students who mark a multiple-choice question incorrectly will have one-quarter of a point deducted from their average PSAT score. Students will not receive a deduction on grid-in mathematical questions. The PSAT grading team computes raw PSAT scores on a scale of 20 to 80 for each of the three sections of the test. On average, PSAT scores reflect a student’s academic skills according to the amount of educational background and PSAT prep courses they took. Studies have revealed slight differences in a student’s academic performance and their PSAT scores, mainly because some students have a natural ability to understand the material without exposure. Other students need to immerse themselves in PSAT prep materials to obtain the highest scores. In addition, the PSAT scoring team can see where a struggling student needs to improve their academic skills. Students can find out if they need to improve their academic skills in any of the three general areas in the “Improve Your Skills” section of the PSAT score report.

EduNova provides a study skills system called the Most Complete Student Success System. This system can help students greatly improve their study skills. Students can improve their weakest academic skills by immersing themselves in PSAT prep materials. This will also help students improve their overall academic performance in the classroom. In fact, EduNova reports an increase of 1.7 points in a student’s grade point average (GPA) after using their materials.

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Students who take solid academic courses and read regularly will obtain good PSAT scores, because they know what to expect on exam day. In any case, students can benefit from a few simple PSAT tips that will streamline the test taking process. Students can follow simple PSAT tips and strategies to complete the test in a timely and efficient manner. Some of the PSAT tips recommended by teachers, faculty, and previous test takers include taking the practice test, learning how to read directions, trying sample problems, earning points on easy questions, reading all of the available answer choices, doing scratch work in the test book, writing answers to grid-ins, working steadily, and trying educated guessing. Students should learn to prepare and study before they learn educated guessing tactics; however, the best strategy involves eliminating one or more choices when coming to a question that the student does not know offhand. The creators of the PSAT test do not recommend random guessing as it will likely not produce good PSAT scores.

Follow these links to learn more about the PSAT test: