Join Vince Kotchian for an in-depth discussion in this video Preparing a study timeline, part of Test Prep: PSAT.
- PSAT prep is a little bit different for everyone, because everyone starts the process at a different level. In this video, I'll explain how to come up with a timeline for your preparation so you can budget enough study time. So in my observations, most people underestimate how much work they'll need. It's particularly hard to improve at the highest and lowest levels. So when in doubt, give yourself longer. I haven't met too many students who can do well on the PSAT without working very hard. I would aim for about 30 to 60 minutes a day, and keep your preparation consistent.
Get it on your planner and make sure it gets done just like your other homework. Cramming for the PSAT rarely works well, since so many different concepts and skills are tested. Also, don't go too long without working on a particular topic. You want to build on the knowledge you've gained before you forget it. So here's an example of a study timeline. Let's say your scores for each of the two sections are 550, you want to get up to a 700 in each area. You may want to spend about three to six months, or maybe even longer, improving your reading skills.
Learning math skills may take a little bit less time, maybe about half of the time it might take you to prepare for reading or so. And then grammar can be learned much faster, maybe in as little as one month. So I'll explain how to build foundational skills for each section in later videos. Once you've got your study plan going, check in every three to four weeks by taking an official PSAT practice test, to see if you need to revise your timeline. You could improve faster than this, or slower, it just depends, so be flexible.
There are insights about the test that come with experience, too, so you may be able to speed up your progress if you find a good tutor or a class. Remember if you want high PSAT scores, you'll need a very strong foundation for each part of the test to build your technique on. Give yourself time, be flexible, and be patient.
- Understanding the structure of the PSAT
- Preparing a study timeline
- Reviewing sample questions
- Reading efficiently and critically
- Recognizing wrong answers in the reading section
- Answering grammar and punctuation questions
- Backsolving math problems
- Decoding charts and graphs
- Working without a calculator