The PSAT is a two-hour test given once a year in October. This test is important for students because it gives them real life preparation for the SATs taken in senior year. The PSAT also qualifies students for the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Mainly though, this is a test where teens get experience in prepping, studying for and taking a major test. You can take the PSAT and find the ares that your student needs to focus on to do well on the SATs. The PSAT is practically identical to the SAT, so keep this in mind when looking for resources; you can use SAT and PSAT interchangeably as far as test prep, etc.

How to Help Your Teen Prepare for The PSAT

Check out this free information from College Board with EVERYTHING you need to know about the PSATs. Go over this information with your child.

Google the name of the schools that they want to get into along with “average SAT scores”. Take the highest percentage(s) from their choice of schools and set that as their goal score.

Let them take the PSAT practice test to see where they are so that recognize strengths and weaknesses. Here are some helpful websites. The website called College Readiness has an incredible resource for students along with practice tests that mirror the real test questions!

Help them set up a formal study schedule to balance out their other commitments and study time. They have to be committed to preparing and learning for the test if they want to have a chance to do well. An article from says that ”As a high school junior, you’ve gone through over 20,000 hours of schooling and homework. An improvement of 200 or more points requires a serious retooling of your knowledge and skills. If you can’t devote at least 80 hours to prepping, you will find it very difficult to make huge score improvements.”  That is a LOT to take in right? Well this chart that they put together breaks it down for you and your child to consider when developing a study schedule. . . 

0-50 SAT Composite Point Improvement: 10 hours
50-100 Point Improvement: 20 hours
100-200 Point Improvement: 40 hours
200-300 Point Improvement: 80 hours
300-500 Point Improvement: 150 hours+

(Mind blowing right?)

Find a tutor. With all the studying your child has to do, making a set time where they are accountable to meet with a professional and dedicate their attention to learning is critical.  There are paid tutors online and offline as well. You can find many near your home just by going on google. When choosing a tutor only pay for one if you can comfortably afford it also realizing that this is an investment if your child takes it seriously. There are plenty of complimentary services you just have to really look for them and do not be shy about asking the school counselor for resources.

Enroll in a PSAT prep program. Again, there are paid programs and complementary programs. This one from Kaptest is good and so is this one from College Readiness

Remember that your child is under a lot of stress with test prep and anxiety about doing well. Give them test confidence! It does not matter whether your teenager as an A student or a C student, some students just do not test well and need a confidence boost. Some students are great at test taking and just need some guidance to prepare. Know your teen, their personality and their study habits. Help them find ways to get out and have fun after studying. Find ways to help them relax and take breaks so they don’t get overwhelmed. You are their biggest cheerleader and their biggest downfall. Make sure you give them all the resources you can and help them study. Do not be critical or lecture them about the test. Do not make them burn out or give up because of YOUR attitude. Confidence goes a long way in a testing room and teens highly regard your support and encouragement even when they do not show it.

Remember these are just a few ways to assist them. Hope on Google to learn some other ways. Encourage them not to get discourage. Teach them not to sweat the small stuff and that the test is a no stress zone.