Prepare for the PSAT With a Hands-on Introduction

The PSAT is an all-new digital test and now there’s an effective way to prepare for the PSAT. Experts from Chicago’s Academic Approach explain how.

It’s a best-case scenario when your child is well-prepared, well-rested and confident when taking any kind of academic test. It’s harder to achieve this if the test is relatively new — and your child has never seen it.

High school freshmen and sophomores will take the new digital PSAT 8/9 or PSAT 10 this spring. This digital test launched in fall 2023, and while the PSAT is not a deal maker or breaker for your child’s college admission, it is a valuable tool for future tests, says Carla Pedersen, Regional Director at Academic Approach, a Chicago-based test-prep and academic tutoring company.

As a low-stakes introduction to standardized tests to come, the PSAT provides an opportunity for practice and offers valuable data about how your child performs on tests of this kind. Your child’s score can empower them to move forward academically and gather the knowledge they need to take future tests with confidence.

This is especially true if your child is a freshman and new to taking standardized tests. “There’s a reason why the ceiling on the scores increases from the PSAT 8/9 to the PSAT 10 and, eventually, the SAT itself,” explains Andrew Ferguson, Director of Client Services at Academic Approach. “The tests get more difficult. It’s supposed to be a building-block scenario with your child being increasingly responsible for more curriculum and more information.”

How to best prepare for the PSAT

As a parent, you want to approach these early standardized tests by offering plenty of support rather than intense pressure to get a perfect score. One way to do this is to help your child gain as much information as possible about how the test looks and feels.

There are many ways your child can prepare for what to expect with the new digital PSAT — including a personalized session with an Academic Approach tutor.

“Academic Approach offers an affordable, three-hour session that allows students to acclimate to the format of the test,” explains Ferguson. “This is not tutoring, but a great introduction to the PSAT in its new digital format.”

In their one-on-one virtual session, your student will:

  • Learn about all facets of the digital PSAT, from beginning to end
  • Become familiar with the number of questions and time allowed for each section
  • Learn about the two main modules
  • Become familiar with the various question types and learn test-taking strategies for answering efficiently
  • Get hands-on experience with the built-in tools, such as the calculator, timer and text annotator
  • Have the opportunity to have questions answered by a tutor who is very familiar with the digital PSAT and has knowledge of standardized tests — including what will be most important to focus on for the digital SAT

A solid introduction to the digital PSAT reduces pressure and increases confidence

Academic Approach’s PSAT information session is not designed to be a comprehensive tutoring session. It will not prepare your child to ace the PSAT in a traditional test-prep sense.

“Nothing about this session is supposed to be ‘dig-deep tutoring.’ These three hours are all about getting students comfortable with the test and providing a space for students to ask questions about what to do in certain situations when taking the digital PSAT,” says Ferguson.

“We won’t be going over grammar, reading comprehension, or math skills. This is an introductory session with the goal of making the test format and features clear to students at an affordable price. We want every student to walk out feeling confident about what the digital PSAT testing experience will be like and what questions they’ll be asked.”

tips-for-taking-the-new-digital-psat-graphic-checklist

 

Whether your child is taking the PSAT 8/9, the PSAT 10 — or even if they are taking the SAT in the spring — Academic Approach has a one-on-one information session to help them feel more comfortable on test day.

“This is similar to driving around the mall parking lot with a parent before driving on your own for real,” Ferguson says. “It’s always better to have some practice in a safe environment.”

Learn more about Academic Approach and schedule your child’s three-hour PSAT intro session. Visit academicapproach.com. Want to get to know the SAT instead? Academic Approach can help with that, too.

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Chicago Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.

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