PSAT Math Practice Test
While the Preliminary SAT doesn’t affect your college admissions chances, it is an important step in the process because it not only helps you prepare for the actual SAT (and even the ACT), it is also required for some scholarship applications.
When Can I Register for the PSAT?
The test is offered only once a year in the fall. There will be 3 possible dates for you to choose from. The deadline to register is set by your school so talk to your counselor to find out when you can sign up for it.
Bear in mind that while you can take this test in your freshman and sophomore years, only your junior year results can be used to compete for scholarships. However, since the test is free, it doesn’t hurt to take it in both years.
If you are taking it in order to qualify for scholarships, it would be beneficial to take it at least once before your junior year so that you can get extra practice and ensure that you’re final results are as competitive as possible.
Since the test is free to students, there’s no harm in taking it more than once. In some cases, your school might charge a small fee of around $16 to cover the cost of the materials.
What Should I Expect on the Day of the Test?
By test day, you’ve studied as much as you’ll be able to so your main focus now should be on remaining confident, relaxed, and focused. To do that, make sure you are well-rested and have eaten a nourishing breakfast. Then, show up to your school at least 30 minutes before the test begins so you can sign in and figure out where to go without rushing.
During the test, you will have a total of 70 minutes to complete the math section. To use that time as efficiently as possible, answer all the questions that come easily to you first. If you encounter a question that is difficult or tricky, note the question number on your scratch paper and move on. Save all the tricky questions so that you can confidently devote all your remaining time to them.
After the test, take some time to jot down some notes and reflections about how the test went. What do you wish you had brought with you but didn’t? What turned out to be unnecessary? Did you manage your time effectively enough that you were able to answer all questions without rushing?
What Types of Math Are Included in the Math Section?
The math section will cover math that you have already learned by your junior year in high school so most of the concepts should be familiar to you. The 47 questions will be broken down into four key areas:
- 16 Algebra Questions
- 16 Data Analysis and Problem Solving Questions
- 14 Advanced Math Questions
- 2 Additional Math Questions
There will be a 45 minute section in which you will be allowed to use a calculator and a 25 minute section in which you won’t be able to use it.
What Do My PSAT Scores Mean?
Your math section will be scored on a scale of 160 to 760. The closer you get to 760, the stronger your math skills are. If you are taking this test as a way to assess your relative skill level at the moment, a score of 500 or higher would mean that you have above average math skills.
While these scores don’t end up on your college application, colleges do see PSAT scores of students before they apply. Having good scores could get you noticed and give you benefits like application fee waivers, free meals from colleges who want you to come to their school, and so on. They will also be important in helping you qualify for scholarships.
You can also use your score report to help you plan your study schedule for the SAT. Using the score breakdown, you can figure out your strengths and weaknesses and decide which skills and subjects need the most work.
How Much Time Should I Spend Studying for the Math Section?
The optimal amount of time will depend on your current skill level in math. So before you begin studying, you should do a practice test to see how much you know right now. This will also help you diagnose exactly which areas need the most work.
Once you’ve done a practice test, you can create a study schedule that will help you get your skills up to where they need to be to achieve your target score. The Mometrix Study Guide can help you do this. It contains a sample study schedule that was designed by experts to be the most effective way to budget your study time. You can adapt that schedule to the length of time you have to prepare for the test.
Beyond the helpful schedule and other test-taking preparation tips, the guide offers easy-to-follow explanations of all the mathematic principles you’ll need to know. In order to better absorb all that information, you should include Mometrix Flashcards which take those concepts and present them on a set of high quality, beautifully designed cards.
This makes it easy to study on the go and to give yourself periodic pop quizzes that will not only improve your problem-solving speed but also help you track your study progress and see what concepts you’ve mastered and which ones are still troublesome for you.
Since there will be a portion of the exam where you can’t use a calculator, it’s important that you not only learn how to work through problems on paper but that you work on memorizing common solutions and multiplication tables. The more basic arithmetic and calculations you can do in your head, the faster you’ll be able to work through the problems.