How to Crack PSAT-Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test

The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is offered by College Board in the United States every year in the month of October. It evaluates reading, math problem-solving skills, and writing. All seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh-grade student take part in PAST. Seventh and eighth-grade students offered for the test as they are beginners for math skills.

It is a multiple choice test, and its scores evaluate the eligibility and qualification of students for National Merit Scholarship Program. As it is the preliminary test, so it determines the strength and weaknesses of students in academics, so that students will prepare for SAT which is used in college application process.

The school pays the fees of the test.  The duration of the test is 2 hour, 45 minutes. It contains four sections for 25 minutes and one section for 30 minutes. There is one point for each correct answer. The student has to darken the entire circle, and if the circle is left blank then there are no points for this, and there is negative marking also. For each wrong answer, there is the deduction of ¼ of the marks. So it is important to not to make any guess, as it will put your scores at risk. The scores are available to students at the end of January. If the student has missed the test, then he/she has the chance to appear next year.

Tips to crack PSAT:

Division of questions:

The sections are usually from easy to hard questions. So answer the questions in that order only which they are. As both easy and hard questions has the same points, so it is good to answer easy questions first and then come to difficult ones. Don't give all the time to answer difficult questions. The difficult the question, less the concentration and distract your mind also. 

No guessing:

Always remember that when you sure for the question only then attempt. There are no points for the questions that are left unanswered, but there is negative marking for the wrong answers. Don't try to answer all questions by making the guess; you will make your scores less by making wrong answers.

Calm your mind

Watching  nature, take proper rest, listen to slow music, spend quiet time alone will make you calm, and chances of error and confusion are less while giving answers. Calmness is the best way to make strong decisions and increase concentration.

Monitor response:

Asking simple questions from yourself will not distract your mind and makes you active. So always try to do the things that will focus on your study and prevent your mind from wandering. When you finish your task, reward yourself. This will develop interest and encourage for next task. This makes you satisfy for your work and enjoyable.

Physical activity:

To concentrate deeply physical activity is a must by controlling your energy. Physical activity is also important for the regular functioning of the brain. Physical activities maintain your blood pumping, increase oxygen level to a brain. The problems like memory loss, less concentration, etc.

By doing different techniques and practices of meditation daily will increase the concentration power. It also recharges the brain activity. Meditation controls the wandering of a brain and makes the brain focus on a single object.

The famous quote "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise". Follow this, and make proper sleep schedule even on holidays also. Sleep is necessary to enhance the memory activities, and it is very crucial for concentration power.


The PAST exam is knowledge - based. You do not have to memorise the things, but you have to pay attention in high school classes. Issue some books from a library and develop creativity and critical thinking etc. Check your answers yourself so that you came to know where you need improvement. 

Sections of paper:

You should read all the options of questions very carefully before responding. In writing skill section you are confused with some words and their meanings then relate those words with familiar proverbs etc.

In passage based questions, do not try to memorise the whole passage and then answer. You should read less as there is the time limit and answer more.

In mathematics section, if your answer is negative then recheck your sum. But do not waste much time in difficult questions.

Give some time for rechecking. Manage your time wisely. The scoring is checked by machine so be careful to not to put stray marks, and your answer must be legible.

201 is the average cut-off score for the exam. Hence you should practice scoring high than that. The tips mentioned above will help you to crack the exam.


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