How to Study for the PSAT One Week Before the Test

This year, the PSAT will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 10 for most students. For high school sophomores and juniors, sitting for the PSAT is a vital opportunity to practice for the all-important SAT, and for juniors, to also earn scholarship funds. If you are registered for this exam, make the most of it with this step-by-step timeline for the final week of prep.

[Read: How You Can Win a National Merit Scholarship.]

One week before your test date. Seven days before your PSAT test date, you may still benefit from reviewing exam content and questions. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, however, focus on three or four problematic areas.

Limit your practice to questions that involve only these topics, but be sure to choose areas or concepts that you encounter most often on PSAT practice tests. For example, you may struggle with identifying evidence in reading passages or solving linear equations in the math section, so focus on those areas. This will help you maximize your score.

It is also important to take a timed, full-length practice test about one week prior to the real PSAT. Simulate testing conditions as closely as possible so you can become more comfortable with the PSAT exam experience.

Set a timer, put away your cellphone, go to a quiet area and get working. Familiarizing yourself with the timing and sequence of the PSAT can lower your stress levels to ensure superior performance.

Four days before your test date. It is time to limit your studying even further about half a week before you are scheduled to take the PSAT. Reduce your studies to just one or two weak areas. Spend time reviewing core skills that can help you win points on several different question types — for example, close reading.

Also consider revisiting math formulas. Although you are provided with some formulas on the PSAT, knowing them well without a reference sheet can save you time and reduce your chances of making a mistake.

[Read: Use Your PreACT, PSAT Performance to Choose a College Entrance Exam.]

Another possible step is to take another full-length PSAT under simulated testing conditions; however, this step should be avoided if the student is in distress, and should instead be substituted with additional study.

One day before your test date. Students should not review any test content the day before taking the PSAT. True comprehension requires longer than 24 hours, and last-minute studying may induce panic.

Instead, use your last 24 hours to figure out the logistics of test day. Take care of practical matters like preparing your calculator and ID and choosing a comfortable outfit. Everything you do on your final day should ensure you have the easiest and smoothest testing experience possible.

Your last steps, the night before the big day, should be to set an alarm and to get yourself in a relaxed state of mind. Read a book, listen to music, take a bath or do whatever helps you to best reduce stress and boost confidence.

[Read: Transform Your PSAT Score Into an SAT Game Plan.]

Adhering to a study timeline can prepare students mentally in the crucial days before the PSAT. Remember, you can adapt the timeline to suit your needs. Be consistent, dedicated and — most importantly — stay calm.

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How to Study for the PSAT One Week Before the Test originally appeared on usnews.com