faq for the PSAT

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    1. Should students take the PSAT?
    - YES, if your student wants to maximize his/her score in order to compete for scholarships.
    - NO, if your student takes the PSAT preparation course IN PLACE of the SAT preparation course that is given in the spring for juniors.
    - YES, if your student does not "test well" or has difficulty on standardized tests and needs more exposure to this type of test.

    2. Why do students need a preparation course for the PSAT?
    A PSAT preparation courses does not review high school class work. Students need to prepare for these tests. In order to be successful, students should know what they will be tested on. They receive this specialized instruction in our USCollegePrep preparation course.

    3. Does coaching help?
    The PSAT is a unique test. It is a timed test which puts a premium on efficiency, speed and accuracy. The strategies a student learns through coaching definitely give him/her a great advantage. While the PSAT questions change with each test, the PSAT structure and approach are both consistent. Those students who apply proven learning techniques to this test generally improve their scores relative to students who take the test "cold," or without preparation.

    4. When a student takes a PSAT preparation course, are they automatically registered for the real test?
    NO!!! Students are given specific information in class regarding registration for the real test. They should register at their high school.

    5. Is one coaching service or product as good as another?
    No. The quality varies.

    6. How can good coaching benefit the student?
    Within a College Board annual report, the director noted: "If the board's test can be regularly beaten through coaching, then the board is itself discredited." Interestingly, the College Board now sells coaching materials. Several years ago, FairTest reported on several studies demonstrating that good coaching courses raise a student's combined score an average of 100 points.

    7. Should one guess on the PSAT?
    Yes and no. A good coaching course will teach a student how and when to guess.

    8. Is PSAT coaching software a wise purchase for students?
    Although popular, the PSAT coaching software we have reviewed suggest it is not a wise value. The main reasons include: overutilizing easy questions and the lack of well-structured PSAT-like problems. Often, the software is enthusiastically reviewed by computer magazine writers or others who lack an appreciation for the nuances and difficulties of the test. Lastly, our class surveys demonstrate that most students want the input from an experienced teacher.


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