PSAT Updates and Tips


Ashley Dang

Though PSAT testing will be different from previous years, it’s a great way for students to assess where they stand in terms of college readiness. It’s a stressful time but the PSAT provides students with an opportunity to practice and learn.

Samhitha Katuru, Reporter

The PSAT/NMSQT is a standardized mock test that helps students prepare for the real SAT. The test serves as more than a trial test, allowing students across the nation to qualify for scholarships, awards, and grants aimed to assist in college funds. Continuing the tradition, SHS 11th graders will be taking the PSAT on Jan. 26 of this year. However, due to COVID and safety concerns surrounding current circumstances, the preparation format usually available will be significantly different. Rather than the original face-to-face instruction, SHS will offer an online crash course on eCampus. Students can self-enroll in this online crash course to plan and train for the upcoming test. As it is a school-offered resource, students can access it with the mentioned link below using their Clever account. The prep course will appear as a separate class on the student dashboard and will contain numerous resources aimed to assist in training for the PSAT. 

“The online crash course will contain presentations for each of the three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Mathematics. Each will contain video lessons to watch that will explain the strategies and then practice material to help them apply the strategies,” describes IB coordinator Donna Noll.

In light of the current circumstances, students taking the PSAT will have to obey certain safety precautions. 

“Besides the usual precautionary measures taken such as masks, students will practice social distancing and have barriers around each of their desks,” explains Noll.

These precautionary measures are similar to those practiced by the face-to-face students at school currently. 11th graders will be offered two opportunities to take the PSAT exam in person. They will also have the opportunity to take a virtual practice as the PSAT is not just a trial run, but an opportunity to qualify for numerous grants or scholarships. In-person practice exams will be offered on Saturday, Jan. 16, and Saturday, Jan. 23 in order for students to adapt to the testing conditions.

Students who do exceptionally well on the PSAT exam have the chance to qualify for valuable grants and scholarships awarded by College Board. For more information on the scholarships offered, visit PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 Scholarships and Recognition.

Despite the eCampus crash course offered, students are advised to study at home as well. For example, Khan Academy offers a PSAT and an SAT prep course designed to assist with improving one’s score.

IB Junior Sanjana John is preparing for the SAT and PSAT by “practicing questions from a study book she bought.”

Multiple study tips are given also to make sure students receive the best help. Besides taking practice tests and exams, the given advice also improves scores.

Making sure to understand the comprehensive knowledge of the PSAT is a must. Although obnoxiously obvious, this tip is extremely important in hindsight. Understanding the composition and format of the PSAT’s sections can determine your score. Each section has its own tips or tricks. Knowing what they are and what each section is testing on can significantly help in the study process. For instance, the grammar section specifically targets certain grammatical structures over others. Comprehending this fact in the exam is extremely beneficial.

Another tip that might be glaringly obvious as well, but just as important, is to pace yourself during the exam. First-time test takers usually ponder on a single question for far too long. As a result, these students miss out on the chance to earn correct points by answering other questions. To prevent this from occurring, students should remember to pace themselves using the allotted time. For instance, in the reading section, they should follow the tact of spending no more than two minutes on a single question. Moreover, there is no penalty for guessing in the PSAT. Thus, students can return to a misunderstood question and answer freely. 

A final tip is to make sure to get a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast. Though seemingly inconsequential in the big scheme, acquiring these two things can determine your state of mind.

As Noll states, “it is hard to concentrate when your stomach is growling at you and by the same token, hard to do well when you are dozing off.”

For more information on the PSAT testing occurring this year, students can contact Veronica Kelly, Seminole’s testing coordinator. Her office is in the center and her email is

eCampus Crash Course Link: