How to Manage Your Time on the PSAT

One of the hardest things to master on a standardized test is timing. Often, students fail to pace themselves, and they finish their exams too quickly, with too many incorrect answers. Similarly, students may also work too slowly and leave a number of questions unanswered. If you are still questioning if you should take the PSAT, this may help you.

Thus, one of the keys to success on the PSAT is timing. When you become familiar with how to manage your time on the PSAT, you may just increase your score. Here's how to do so:

Evaluate your current performance

The first step in learning how to manage your time on the PSAT is to examine your current performance. Where do you spend the longest amount of time? Is there a particular set of questions that seems to give you trouble? Do you begin to lose focus after a certain number of minutes?

Chart what you are currently doing, and ask yourself how it is working for you. If you finish the test with plenty of time and do so accurately, you may not need to worry about timing. If you are only completing half of the PSAT in the allotted time, you may have a little bit of work to do.

Form a plan

Now that you know what you are having trouble with on the PSAT, begin to develop a time management plan. Look at each section of the test individually in order to identify your study strategies. And remember that your plan should be based upon your needs.

Divide questions into types, and write down a list of ways to tackle each type. Perhaps you begin by reading the question. Then you determine the answer, and you see if that answer is among the choices. If not, you might eliminate obviously incorrect responses. Your strategies will vary based on the kind of question that you are trying to answer.

If you know what your approach to every type of question will be, you may find it easier to manage your time on the PSAT. If you find yourself struggling you may want to work with a PSAT tutor to help you.

Take a practice test

Once you decide on your strategies, it's time to put your PSAT time management skills into action. Gather a selection of PSAT practice tests, and begin working through them. This can help you familiarize yourself with possible questions that will appear on the exam. It can also allow you to test your knowledge, and it can provide you with an opportunity to practice the time management plan that you developed. Take practice exams as part of your normal study routine, and do not stop completing them until you sit for the real PSAT.

Allocate your time wisely

Finally, decide how to spend your time in order to get the best possible PSAT score. If you know that you will need additional time on a specific kind of question, balance this with areas where you can work quickly. Allocate your resources in the way that is best for you.

The most challenging aspect ahead of you may be learning how to manage your time on the PSAT. But with study and practice, you can build a system that enables you to succeed.