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How do I prepare for the PSAT?

The PSAT is given around the country in October. Whether you’re a sophomore or junior, this is a practice test. And that is good news, because you don’t need to prepare for this test like you need to prepare for the “real” SAT or ACT. That said, some preparations would be smart.

Below, I’ve highlighted some basic prep steps that will help you immensely but not require a ton of your time:

  • Get familiar with the PSAT instructions by checking out a practice test. Feeling uncertain about the instructions or getting confused by the format during the test would be a giant waste of time.
  • Get a good night of sleep before the test. This is probably the easiest step you can take to maximize your score.
  • Take a (quiet) snack in case your get hungry.
  • Provide your email address when registering.
  • Check the box that allows colleges to access your test results when registering. There’s no harm in allowing colleges to get you “on their radar.” And checking this box will help expose you to a wider range of colleges when they email and mail you materials.

Access your practice PSAT now.

The October PSAT will take 2 hours and 45 minutes. And your maximum score is 1520.

Looking farther down the road, you should start planning for the official SAT or ACT just before the start of your junior year.  This will give you enough time to take the SAT or ACT 3 times before the fall of your Senior year. And taking it 3 times – while also studying before each test – will help you post your best possible score.