Thousands of students across the country will take the PSAT in the next couple of weeks, and most of them will take it “cold.” That means they have no prior exposure to the test. Big mistake.
The PSAT, like the SAT, is tricky. It has question types students have never seen before (what teacher asks you to identify a grammar error and gives you “no error” as an option, or assigns math problems with more than one right answer?), and the directions can be confusing. The best way to prepare quickly is to get familiar with each of the four sections by going over the directions and making sure you understand them. Knowing them ahead of time can help ease anxiety, since at the very least you know what you’ll be facing, and it saves time. You want to begin reading, doing math problems, and answering questions as soon as a section begins–skipping the directions can save you up to five minutes overall.
Check out the PSAT section on college board.org and read the directions and overview of the Reading, Writing, Math with Calculator, and Math without Calculator tests. Bonus points for doing some practice problems!