PSAT Preparation

The PSAT is an opportunity to gain confidence with a standardized test, so that you're ready for all the others coming down the road.

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Process

Ready to tackle standardized testing?

It might surprise you to learn that studying for the PSAT is one of the single smartest things you can do for your college application process. Why? Because it’s the one aspect of the process with virtually no downside.

1

Prepare for the PSAT

The PSAT is an opportunity to practice test-taking foundations. For students who already feel comfortable with tests, the PSAT/NMSQT offers a chance to practice more advanced methods in preparation for the SAT (and to qualify for a National Merit scholarship!). Since the PSAT is typically administered in October of students’ junior years, we recommend starting preparation the prior spring or summer. Some school districts offer the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10, which are essentially practice versions of the PSAT/NMSQT. These tests occur during the school day and can be helpful diagnostic tools for the PSAT/NMSQT, but they don't count towards scholarship opportunities. Students can take the PSAT/NMSQT up to three times total, and some students opt to take the test as sophomores, but scholarship programs only look at the eleventh-grade score for scholarship opportunities.

Request a PSAT tutor
2

Determine when you need to take the test

The PSAT is typically administered in October of students’ junior years. Although some sophomores opt to take the PSAT/NMSQT, and students can take the exam up to three times in their high school careers, scholarship programs will only look at the test score administered in the eleventh grade. We advise our clients to start studying in the summer before their junior year.

Request a complementary college coaching consultation
3

Familiarize yourself with the format of the exam and official resources

The PSAT/NMSQT is structured just like the SAT. The test is administered in-person at official test centers and consists of 4 sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math, and the Essay (optional). Total testing time clocks in at 180 minutes, not including breaks or the 50-minute optional Essay section. The PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 are administered during the school day. The PSAT 8/9 is slightly shorter than the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT, with ten fewer questions.

Visit the College Board website north_east
4

Establish a baseline on a previously administered test

We highly recommend taking a full-length official practice exam as your diagnostic: Test 1 out of the College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide is a great place to start. Logging your wrong answers from this diagnostic is helpful in beginning to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
5

Create a preparation plan

The PSAT is highly coachable, patterned, and predictable. It is a well-known fact that familiarity through repetition leads to dramatically superior outcomes on the PSAT. We recommend a minimum of 16 one-on-one tutoring sessions to cover the entirety of the test. Most of our students space these sessions out over the course of two to four months in our Comprehensive Package.
6

Start tutoring, and later practice testing

You’ll meet with your tutor regularly (ideally, at least once/week), complete homework in between sessions, and take practice tests. Practice tests are the best way to measure how well you’re applying the methods you’re learning in tutoring sessions, and to gauge the progress of your score.
From our blog: how to make the most of your practice tests

Tutor spotlight

We are a cooperative of professional writers, English PhDs, and mathematicians who provide exceptional one-on-one tutoring and test prep support to our students.

Meet everyone

We are a cooperative of professional writers, English PhDs, and mathematicians who provide exceptional one-on-one tutoring and test prep support to our students.

Jimmy

Jimmy is a PhD candidate in Sociology & Social Policy at Harvard. He holds a JD (Harvard) and BA in English and Social Studies (Harvard). Currently, he is a Lecturer on Law at UCLA Law and a pro bono attorney.

Colleen

Colleen earned a PhD and MA from Harvard University in History, an MA in Modern European History from St Andrews, and a BA in History and Art History from University of Notre Dame. Currently, she is a researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Graham V.

Graham holds an MD (Vanderbilt University Medical School) and MBA (Harvard Business School). He earned his BS from MIT in Materials Science & Engineering. Currently, he is an Emergency Medicine Resident at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Ezra

Ezra grew up in San Francisco, and still misses the fog and steep hills. As an undergraduate at Harvard, Ezra majored in Social Studies (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and wrote his thesis about senior homes in Beijing. Upon graduating, Ezra was...

Joyce

Joyce is currently an MD candidate at Harvard Medical School. She also graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Anthropology from Harvard, where her thesis won the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize.

Bassel

Bassel received an MS in Civil Engineering from MIT and a BS in Engineering from Harvard. He has taught college courses on topics ranging from probability and statistics to modern history.

Jonathan W.

Jonathan is an MPA student at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He earned his Bachelor's from Tufts University, where he double majored in Politcal Science and Economics.

Grace

Grace is a dental student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She graduated from Duke University with honors and a double major in Biology and Global Health.

Julia P.

Julia holds a BA from Princeton University in English Literature, with certificates in Theater and Music Theater. Her thesis won the Alan Downer prize for research in English and drama. Currently, she works in theatrical costuming.

Aditya K.

Aditya is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Illinois. He received his BS in Computer Science and Applied Computational Mathematics from CalTech and MS in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard.

Mike Mc.

Mike attended Darmouth College, where he won numerous awards for his creative and critical writing. He earned his BA in English, and went on to become a secondary school teacher.

Di

Di is an MBA student at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and has deferred admission to Harvard Law School. He received his BS in Mathematics, and BAs in Economics and Statistics at the University of Chicago.

Harish

Harish is a JD candidate at Harvard Law School. Previously, he worked for Bain & Company as a consultant. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Southern California, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

Rana

Rana earned her BS in Biology and Molecular Biology at Brown, and then spent two years working in ovarian cancer research at Mass General Hospital. Currently, she is an MD student at Harvard Medical School.

Daniel Pa.

Dan is a PhD student in Mathematics at Ohio State University. He attended Bard College and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Mathematics and a minor in Physics.

Gil

Gil graduated from Wesleyan University with a BS in Chemistry. He attended Columbia University for his MS in Electrical Engineering, where he received the prestigious Jacob Millman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Troy

Troy graduated from Yale with a BA in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. After serving in Teach for America, he attended Harvard Law. Currently, Troy works for an education technology startup focused on preparing students for college.

Matty

Matty earned a JD from Harvard Law. He graduated magna cum laude from Amherst with a BA in Geology. He has experience as a tax attorney working in corporate law in New York.

Mihir

Mihir is an MD student at Harvard Medical School. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Betta Kappa with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and Master's in Chemistry from UPenn.

Alexander V.

Alex earned his Master's in Musicology from Oxford University and his Bachelor's, with a double major in in Mathematics and Music, from Harvard University. He has been tutoring students for over eight years.

Allison H.

Allison recieved an MPhil in Modern Eastern Studies from University of Oxford and graduated from Williams College with a BA in Arabic Studies. Currently, she is a Center for Arabic Study Abroad Fellow.

Ellen Y.

Ellen is an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School, where she conducts research on the dysregulation of cell death in cancer. She earned her Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry at Caltech.

Ash

Ash earned a BA in Social Studies (Harvard), an MPhil in Intellectual History and Political Thought (University of Cambridge), and a JD (Yale). He is currently a PhD candidate in Political Science at Columbia University.

Priyanka N.

Priyanka grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota and spent a majority of her time in high school honing her classical Indian dance and debate skills (though never at the same time). She competed extensively and achieved success on a national level. After grad...

Kruti

Kruti spent her early childhood in Mumbai, India and Singapore before moving to Wayland, MA, a small town just 30 minutes away from Boston. She graduated magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard College, majoring in molecular and cellular bio...

Michael C.

Michael earned his BA in Molecular Biology at Princeton University (magna cum laude). After graduation, he was a research assistant at The Rockefeller University in New York. He is currently an MD canditate at Harvard Medical School.

Joy

Joy is an MD/PhD candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She earned a BS (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology) and BA (Anthropology) from Brown, and completed a postbac fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.

Sam M.

Sam graduated with honors from Middlebury with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish. He went on to work in the film and tech industries for over a decade. Sam now specializes in private academic tutoring and exam prep.

Roel

Roel earned his BS in Applied and Computational Mathematics at CalTech, and he is currently an MA candidate in Jazz Composition at Berklee. He has over 1500 hours of tutoring experience.

Natalia Ic.

Natalia received her BA in History from the City College of New York. She went on to earn a Master's of Science in General and Special Childhood Education at the Bank Street College of Education.

Tess D.

Tess earned her BA in Psychology at Harvard College. After a few years working in entertainment, she's now pursuing a Master's in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College.

Shivangi

Shivangi is an MD candidate at Harvard Medical School, conducting research in Cardiothoracic Surgery. She graduated from MIT with a BS in Biology (GPA 4.9/5.0, Phi Beta Kappa).

Ryohei

Ryohei studied Francophone Literature and Art History at Princeton and Prix du Cercle Franais. After working at the MoMA, he is presently an MA candidate in History at LՃcole des hautes Žtudes en sciences sociales (EHESS).

Sam D

Sam holds a BS in Physics (Cornell) and a PhD in Physics (Harvard). He's now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, studying physical systems and machine learning applications.

Tiwadeye

Tiwa graduated from Yale University with a BS in biomedical engineering with a focus on tissue engineering. As an undergraduate, she volunteered at a soup kitchen, performed cardiac tissue engineering research, built a website aimed at reducing healt...

Sophia Ro.

Sophia holds a BA in English (Williams College) and an MS in Education from Johns Hopkins. After serving as a Princeton in Asia Fellow, she taught English in Baltimore Public Schools for four years.

Justin T.

Justin earned his BS in Bioengineering with a concentration in Engineering Design at Rice University. He participated in the FlexMed program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai before pursuing his MD at Mount Sinai.

Colin

Cassandra G.

Cassandra is from Long Island, NY and a long line of pediatricians. She attended the University of Virginia on a four-year, full cost of attendance scholarship with a double major in Human Biology and Spanish. There, she was fortunate enough to explo...

Meet everyone

FAQs

  • What is the PSAT?

    The PSAT comes in three flavors, but only one – the PSAT/NMSQT – connects students to scholarship opportunities. The PSAT 8/9 is geared toward eighth and ninth-grade students, and scores don't qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Similarly, the PSAT 10 is geared toward tenth-grade students, and scores don't qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The PSAT/NMSQT, which students typically take in eleventh grade, is the test that counts for scholarship opportunities. Because it's the only test that precisely simulates the SAT test day atmosphere, the PSAT/NSMQT is by far the best gauge of your comfort level with standardized tests, and the SAT in particular.  

    Since the PSAT is designed as a practice for the SAT, PSAT scores never get sent to colleges. Not all school districts administer all exams, especially not the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10, so check with your local school for test availability.

  • Why does the PSAT matter?

    Not only does the PSAT help prepare your child for the SAT, but your child’s scores on the PSAT will connect them to scholarship opportunities, including the National Merit Scholarship Program. Over $235 million in scholarships use PSAT scores to distribute their funding.
  • How is the PSAT scored?

    The PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT are scored on the same scale as the SAT. The only difference is that the PSAT maximum score is 1520, whereas the SAT maximum score is 1600; this is due to the fact that the SAT has more questions of a higher difficulty level. The PSAT 8/9 is scored on a scale from 240-1440.

    In addition, all three PSAT score reports include an AP Potential section that recommends what AP topics students might be ready to study based on their test results.

  • How do I register my child for the PSAT?

    Unlike the SAT where registration is done online via College Board, PSAT registration is done through your child’s high school. Every high school has a slightly different process for signing up, so be sure to contact your child’s school or guidance counselor for more information.
  • Who receives my child’s PSAT scores?

    PSAT scores are sent to your child’s school, school district, state, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Additionally, the scores will be sent to specific scholarship and recognition programs unless you choose to opt out of that process. PSAT scores are never sent to colleges.
  • When does registration open for the PSAT?

    Registration occurs about 5 weeks before the selected test date. Register online or find out more here.
  • How has COVID impacted the PSAT?

    For COVID updates and the PSAT, please visit this link.

Plans

We’ve created a structured yet flexible pricing plan that offers everything you need to succeed on test day.

Choose a Tutor Tier

Hourly Rate

1 Hour

All of our tutoring is available on an hourly basis. If you're not sure how much tutoring you'll need or when you plan to test, you can enroll in our "pay as you go" option.

$ 120

$ 160

$ 240

$ 290

First Time Package

4.5 Hours

The three session package is a good way to get a student's feet wet, evaluate the amount of tutoring they’ll ultimately need, and see if they feel comfortable with a tutor. Most students use this package to gauge their preliminary strengths and weaknesses so that the tutor can chart a longer term plan.

$ 540

$ 720

$ 1080

$ 1305

Comprehensive Package

24 Hours 5% OFF

Our preferred approach to the PSAT and SAT provides complete coverage of the exam in detail. Along with learning test strategy and practicing time management, students complete a thorough and customized syllabus of practice exams, drills, and homework assignments.

$ 2736 You save $144

$ 3648 You save $192

$ 5472 You save $288

$ 6612 You save $348

Planning Ahead Package

30 Hours 10% OFF

Because the PSAT and SAT heavily rewards repetition and coverage, we offer this package to students who would prefer to space their preparation out over a longer duration. Some students find this package useful if they need to spend more time preparing for particular sections of the test or getting acclimated to the pressures of standardized testing.

$ 3240 You save $360

$ 4320 You save $480

$ 6480 You save $720

$ 7830 You save $870

Tutor Tiers

We have 4 tiers of coaches. The coach’s tier is based on the experience level of the coach with our team. All coaches begin working with Cambridge Coaching at the Standard tier.

  • Standard

    0-150 hours
    $120/hour

  • Senior

    150-200 hours
    $160/hour

  • Guru

    250-300 hours
    $240/hour

  • Master

    350+- hours
    $290/hour

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