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PSAT Test Prep Myths

The PSAT is a helpful test to take on your college admissions journey. However, don’t confuse the format and questions for what you’ll face on the SAT itself.

Don’t confuse the PSAT with the regular SAT. Here are the most common PSAT test prep myths.

Here’s also a quick primer on the best ways to prepare for the PSAT.

psat test prep

The PSAT Is Exactly Like The SAT

It isn’t the same as the SAT.

The PSAT is a helpful tool to help get you ready for the SAT. But remember, it’s not the SAT. There are real differences between them.

First, the PSAT is a shorter test, in terms of both questions and time. Second, the PSAT doesn’t have an essay section.

Third, the PSAT doesn’t test more complex Math topics like imaginary numbers or trigonometry. Fourth, you take the PSAT at your high school instead of an official testing center.

Think of the PSAT as a good trial run of what the SAT will be like.

College Admissions Use PSAT Scores

This myth is 100% false.

The biggest organization paying attention to your PSAT score is the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. That organization is known for the National Merit Scholarship, which is a great opportunity to earn college scholarship money.

Outside of that, college admissions don’t care about your PSAT at all. The only scores they look at are your SAT or ACT scores.

Many colleges will receive lists of high-scoring PSAT students to send advertising for attention. Outside of that, those scores don’t play a factor in whether you get in or not.

You Aren’t Allowed To Guess On The PSAT

This is thankfully a myth now.

The PSAT indeed used to have a wrong-answer penalty. You would lose points by guessing the wrong answer.

What this led to was plenty of students skipping questions and not even trying to answer them. Just like with the new SAT, the new PSAT doesn’t penalize you for wrong answers now.

This means that you should never leave a question unanswered now. You have a better chance of getting it right and earning those helpful points.

“C” Is The Most Common Right Answer

This myth is based on psychology.

This myth apparently started because of the teacher’s tendency to assign ‘C’ often as a test answer choice. In reality, people do write PSAT test questions but don’t assign answers.

The actual answer choices are randomly distributed by a computer program. The reason being that because distribution is random, every answer choice has an equal chance of being correct.

The PSAT Is Like Any Other Test

This test places specific demands on you.

The PSAT is designed to cover information learned in the following kinds of classes:

  • Math
  • Literature
  • English

The difference is it combines all of these subjects together into different sections. Not only that, but you are forced to figure out and answer questions as quickly as possible.

Why? Because you are only allowed to answer each section’s questions within a specific time limit and then move on. That means you have to work fast and still try to get every answer correct.

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Todd Marcus

Written by Todd Marcus

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