PSAT Day Experience


Now that PSAT day has passed, I find that it was not nearly as bad as I had thought, and I find that many others share this same sentiment. Going into the PSATs, I know from personal experience, and those that I have asked, that it was a somewhat stressful and worrying event. Instead of what I thought was going to be an incredibly long test with little brakes, it turned out to be quite short, with many breaks in between. With the sections being only 30 or so minutes on average, and sufficient time between sections, it turned out quite well. Another thing which surprised me and many other students was the average lower difficulty than expected, though some questions were more challenging. Compared to other standardized tests such as the MAP tests, the PSAT was at a level lower than expected.

Though the PSAT could seem quite useless to many, it can give many useful insights to the future PSATs and SATs, which are both incredibly important when applying to colleges. For example, according to the College Board, the PSATs and SATs are very similar, allowing you to get an idea of what score you might get on the SATs. As well as giving useful insight on scores, PSATs can also give lots of insight into how to do better. For example, when the scores become available in a few weeks, it will allow students to see where they did well, and where they didn’t, allowing them to practice according to which sections they could improve the most.

After taking the PSAT, I realized that not only is proper preparation important, but also test taking strategies. For example, I found that myself and other students often took too much time on the first questions, forcing us to rush the last few questions and have a higher chance of making a mistake. A useful strategy to decipher how long one should take on each question is to divide the amount of time in the test by the number of questions. For example, if a section is 30 minutes long, and contains 40 questions, then one could do 30 divided by 40 to figure out that one should use about 45 seconds per question. Another thing to remember for the test, most importantly the math section, was to read each question carefully, and make sure not to make a mistake resulting in unnecessary loss of points.

All in all, I found that PSAT day was a more enjoyable experience than first expected, and offered very useful insight to the future tests.