If you plan to enter college, then you will be interested in taking PSAT. This job can be very helpful for those people who need to find their specialization and general path in life. Besides, if you make this test during your junior year, you get an opportunity to receive a scholarship.
So, are there any other reasons to think whether you need to do PSAT or not? Basically, it is a preparation for a very important test called the SAT. Long story short, there are many reasons for trying your powers beforehand. Let’s start with understanding the role of PSAT.
The Definition of the PSAT Math
Preliminary SAT is a test that high school and college students must make to become college students in the nearest future. It is created to check your abilities in different sections, including math. Well, usually, this part is very terrific for students, but you should prepare yourself well to do it. For this reason, the test format has special parts dedicated to math.
Well, there are different types of PSAT. For instance, PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 are made for the relevant grades, but just the last one can bring you a scholarship. These texts usually are held in the fall so you can clear up the sections of science you must work on. But note that taking this test in 8, 9, or 10 grade is an opportunity to try your powers. You can receive a scholarship only with your high score in the 11 grade.
As a result, it is absolutely okay if you don’t score well. The experts explain that your work on this task just to show your strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, PSAT math and other areas are only a preparation stage for the real test. Now, if you know what subject area in math means problems to you, then you’ll improve your skills before the final SAT.
You need to know more information about the PSAT math part to increase your confidence. So make sure you are totally ready for this text. Clear up its particularities, tips, and prompts.
PSAT Math’s Structure
Among the reading, writing, and language sections, the PSAT math part consists of two sections. Here are these sections:
- the first part lasts for 45 minutes and allows using a calculator;
- the second part lasts 25 minutes and prohibits using a calculator.
You need to focus on each section just one by one. Start with the calculator portion and then move on to the no-calculator portion or vice versa. This is absolutely up to you. Only the one thing is important: you must understand when to use this tool and when it’s better to work alone even if you can take the calculator. So let’s see what the main particularities of these 2 parts of PSAT math are.
Calculator Usage in PSAT Math
The calculator allows you to concern about the modeling and reasoning using the saved minutes. This tool is very useful and helpful for students, so it is very important to be keen on using a calculator. If you don’t know how to do it properly, then there wouldn’t be any profit from this gadget. Yes, it sounds unusual, but many students don’t know how to work with this gadget.
Besides, math is such a thing that sometimes it’s better to avoid even if general rules allow you to do this. Experts say that students need to ignore calculators in specific cases to make the PSAT math part fast and right. This tip helps you to stay focused on the top questions and even finish the job faster than other students.
Grid-in Section in PSAT Math
Yes, the biggest part of the test lets you choose the one right answer among 4 possible options. Usually, it is very easy and simple to make a choice among suggestions. Besides, you would be able to demonstrate your understanding of the most important concepts, number sense, and techniques. At the same time, there still exists a student-response section of questions. This part is also called ”grid-in,” and it takes around 17% of the whole test.
The student-response questions mean you have to solve the situation and propose your unique answer. That’s why the sheet of paper has a special part where you can write down your propositions.
Here are several additional rules of how you should work with the grid-in questions:
- you need to mark only one circle in each column;
- it is strictly required to fill the circle because you don’t receive a score written out the circles;
- you can begin with any column you are comfortable with;
- the grid may include only 4 decimal places;
- the grid may include only positive numbers or zero;
- you are allowed to fill the circle with decimal and fraction if there is no such restriction;
- you need to use improper fractions instead of mixed numbers.
When you use all these rules, you increase your chances of the best PSAT math results. So don’t be lazy and memorize the mentioned above recommendations.
How to Make PSAT Math
In general, you have to deal with 48 questions. The main part (40 questions) contains multiple-choice tasks. You’ll have 4 possible variants though only one is right. And there are only 8 questions that require a free-response. It means you have not proposed any answer choice and must write the answer you received after making calculations. It’s important: these questions may have more than one correct answer. This structure is stable and permanent.
On the one hand, it seems enough time for making all tasks. You have almost 1,5 minutes for each task. But on the other hand, students admit that without proper preparation, they lost plenty of minutes on worries and mistakes. If you don’t want to waste your precious time and make the PSAT successfully, then you should find out more tips and tricks to perform the test.
Here are 3 good strategies for you:
- A strategy to triage the test. No one can make you solve tasks in direct order. You can start with the section you want. This strategy means you should firstly work with easy questions and skip others. On the second-order, you need to work with tasks that take double effort. And finally, go on to the hardest questions.
- A strategy to eliminate answer choices. When you can easily determine that several options in answers are wrong, then you’ll save time on picking the right one. So use the following scheme: read each choice carefully and cross out the options that are definitely incorrect.
- To guess. If you have no idea about the right choice, you can rely on guessing. Every question has 4 answers, so your chance for success choice based on random guessing is 25%. In any case, it is better than nothing.
Possible Types of PSAT Areas of Study
In general, the PSAT math is dedicated to 3 areas of study: a heart of algebra, data analysis and problem-solving, and passport to advanced math. You should be well-prepared for the text unless you don’t want to face your failure so make sure you understand the meaning of each topic.
Here is the short description of these areas of study:
- heart of algebra means solving linear equations and systems;
- problem-solving and data analysis demonstrates your abilities in algebraic problems, functions, and so on;
- passport to advanced math includes tasks with complex equations.
Also, there may be additional subjects, but the mentioned above topics are major. The student must be ready to show skills in geometry, trigonometry, and so on.
PSAT math is quite a practical test. You wouldn’t be asked typical abstract questions or every topic you have studied during your education. Moreover, students will be asked to use their skills in modeling and solving problems. As a result, this test is a kind of simulation of how you would deal in your personal life, at the workplace, at science contests, etc.
Here is an example of how the PSAT math works. You need to solve a question, but it means several steps to do. This is a direct apology to the real world, where you should do more to reach more. That’s why PSAT is a rational and effective tool for students.
By reading this short guide about PSAT math, you need to understand that this is hard work. Preparing such a test means not only being skilled enough but also calm and focused. These are the 2 main components of success with PSAT math. If you feel the lack of any of these components, then you are welcomed to use professional support.
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