Preparing for the summer is a wise decision if you plan to take the August SAT. Our comprehensive SAT preparation programs will help you get ready for both the PSAT and the SAT, so you can achieve success on both tests. It is also important to note that studying for the SAT will also benefit you when it comes to the PSAT. If you start preparing for the SAT before your third year (when you were taking the PSAT NMSQT), any SAT preparation you do will also prepare you for the PSAT.
We usually recommend that students begin their preparation for the SAT (or ACT) during the spring or summer before their third year. Setting aside time to study during the winter break is a smart move if you plan to do the PSAT and then the March SAT. And if you need an extra boost, Insight's SAT preparation programs will help you systematically improve your scores on both the SAT and the PSAT. The simplest way to do this is through official practice for the SAT at Khan Academy.
This platform assists students in preparing for the SAT through a test that is substantially similar, but without the pressure of “do or die.” Nowadays, there are fewer schools, even among top-tier colleges and universities, that require that all SAT scores be submitted (with notable exceptions such as Yale, Georgetown, UC Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon), so if you have time and money, you can take the real SAT just to see what it's like and not worry about your scores. But if your goal is to predict your SAT score, does it really make sense to take a completely different test when only one section is close to being comparable to the SAT? Since the PSAT is just a slightly easier and slightly shorter version of the SAT, it makes sense that you can prepare for the PSAT and increase your score in the same way as with the SAT. For this reason, Insight Test Prep Boot Camp includes 10 comprehensive practice tests, so you feel in control during both the actual SAT and PSAT. Whether or not it makes sense to specifically prepare for the PSAT (instead of just preparing for the SAT) depends on several different factors.
While we've discussed some of the reasons why students might want to prepare for the PSAT, there are also cases where preparing for the PSAT is unnecessary and pointless. Now that we've explained why you should do the PSAT and how it differs from preparing for the SAT, let's move on to debating whether or not you should prepare for the PSAT. Your preparation for the PSAT will reflect this difference. Instead of having to tackle more difficult SAT topics (which you may not have learned yet in school when you were in eleventh grade), you can spend more time honing fewer skills.
While you have equal time per question in reading on both tests, there are fewer questions in each passage on the PSAT; and both math sections of the PSAT give you more time per question and ask fewer questions than those on the SAT. Or in terms of exam preparation, if you prepare for the PSAT, you'll just have to learn pre-calculated math that wasn't taught when taking the PSAT and work on time and endurance management to prepare for the SAT. But, assuming you put in enough effort and time, if you're already preparing for the SAT, there's no need to do any additional preparation for the PSAT. If your answer was “No” earlier, then there's no need to do any specific preparation for the PSAT; instead, dedicate all your preparatory energy towards studying for the SAT (or ACT).