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TACTICAL PSAT STRATEGIES. Learning Systems Houston, Texas www.TestGuys.net. What is the PSAT ?. It’s different from other tests. It is a REASONING test. It’s designed to test your ability to think. It is used for the National Merit Competition and other such scholarship programs.

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tactical psat strategies

TACTICALPSATSTRATEGIES

Learning Systems

Houston, Texas

www.TestGuys.net

what is the psat
What is the PSAT ?

It’s different from other tests.

  • It is a REASONING test.
  • It’s designed to test your ability to think.
  • It is used for the National Merit Competition and other such scholarship programs.
  • It does not accurately predict your SAT score.
psat scoring
PSAT Scoring

All Multiple-Choice Questions

  • 1 point added for correct answers
  • ¼ point deducted for incorrect answers
  • 0 points added/deducted for skipped questions - Blank IS NOT Wrong!
psat scoring1
PSAT Scoring

Student-Produced Math Answers

  • 1 point added for correct answers
  • 0 points deducted for wrong answers
psat scoring2
PSAT Scoring
  • Critical Reading (20-80 pts.)
  • Math (20-80 pts.)
  • Writing Skills (20-80 pts)

Score Range: 60 - 240 pts.

Average score = 150 (mean)

Perfect score = 240

TX Soph. Avg: 124

TX Jr. Avg: 134

tactic 1 know all test directions
Tactic #1:Know All Test Directions

You won’t read them when

you take the PSAT because,

by the end of this course, you

will know them all.

tactic 2 pace yourself roughly you have about 1 minute per question
Tactic #2:Pace Yourself - Roughly, You have about 1 minute per question.

Rocketpeople

Want to finish first!

Snails

Just hope they can finish!

good test takers
Good Test-Takers

Do What They Can Do

And Don't Worry About

What They Can't Do!

tactic 3 power test concept
Tactic #3:Power Test Concept
  • 1/3 Easy–More than 70% get them correct.
  • 1/3 Medium – About 50% get them correct.
  • 1/3 Hard Questions – Less than 30%

get them correct.

slide10

Verbal Section

Sentence Completion Critical Reading

1. 9.

2. Easy B

3. O

4. R

5. Medium I

6. N

7. Hard G

8. 24.

Power Test Concept

slide11

Verbal Section: The J.A.S. WaySentence Completion Critical Reading1. 9.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. 24.Power Test Concept

slide12

Verbal Section: The Right WaySentence Completion Critical Reading1. 9.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. 24.Power Test Concept

regular math section 2
Regular Math - Section 2

1.

2.

3.

4. EASY

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11. Medium

12.

13.

14.

15. Geometry

16.

17. Geometry Hard

18.

19.

20. Geometry

Look For “Favorites”

after you bog down

on two in a row!

slide14
Math Section 4 – Regular Math + SPAs

1.

2. EASY

3.

4.

5. MEDIUM

6.

7. HARD

8.

9.

10. EASY

11.

12.

13.

14. MEDIUM

15.

16.

17. HARD

18.

Power Test Concept

always know where you are
Always know where you are!
  • 1. (A) obsequious (D) syzygy
  • 2. Feldspar was ____, he won the race.
  • (A) disappointed

(B) despondent

(C) dejected

(D) zellsbotted

(E) disconsolate

slide16

* = A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

5

10

15

30

50

100

200

19.

always know where you are1
Always know where you are!

19.

Next To Last Math Question

ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOU ARE!!!

Beware of obvious answers in the bottom 1/3!

tactic 4 eliminate distracters
Tactic #4: Eliminate Distracters
  • Cover up the Answer Choices
  • Read - Find Clues
  • Predict Your Answer
  • Eliminate (TOG)
  • Work
  • Ask Yourself If Your Answer
  • Is Reasonable
slide19

99% of 5 =

(A) 0.00495

(B) 0.0495

(C) 0.495

(D) 4.95

(E) 49.5

slide20
Ex. 2: The trial was often _____, degenerating

at times into a name-calling contest.

(A) boring (B) insightful (C) lofty

(D) chaotic (E) frivolous

tactic 5 work backwards
Tactic #5: Work Backwards

Everyone read the following out loud on the count of…

1

2

3

John went to

to the store.

  • Eliminates Careless Reading Errors
  • Time Bandit Questions
tactic 6 should you guess
Tactic # 6: Should You Guess?

If you can eliminate two or more of the answer choices, make an educated guess!

the guessing game

A - C - E

The Guessing Game

6 x (+1) = +6

4 x (-¼) = - 1

Net Gain: +5

2 x (+1) = +2

8 x (-¼) = -2

Net Gain: 0

these guessing techniques don t work
These guessing techniques don’t work:
  • Gum Wrappers, Chapsticks, Quarters
  • Hi Tech Techniques
  • A B C D E - “The Big C”
  • It’s In The Middle!
  • Let’s Talk About
  • “Answer Balance”
over the entire test
Over the entire test . . .

Correct Answer Balance

(±3%)

over the entire test1
Over the entire test . . .

Incorrect Answer Balance

guessing tips
Guessing Tips
  • Triplets are rare - Do Not Guess Into A Triplet.
  • Four in a row will never happen.
  • (Well, almost never happen!)
  • Beware of “obvious” answers in the last 1/3 of each powered question type.
  • Watch Answer Balance - Check Your Answer Sheet
  • From Time To Time
slide28

Tactic #7 - Word Roots & Prefixes

 Pregagulous

 Malzellsbott

 Profimple

 Polynosbig

 Subattal

 Unimbrusity (- x - = +)

Refer to pages 8-9 in Your Pink Book.

verbal tactics
Verbal Tactics

(Critical Reading Tactics)

tactic 8 underline key words
Tactic #8:Underline KEY Words

KEY WORDS:

A. Subject - But Not A Proper Noun

Olympic downhill skiers……….

B. Action Words - What happened

to subject.

the top ten reasons students don t underline
The Top Ten Reasons Students Don’t Underline

10. If I don’t get a good score, I can listen to

my iPod and take AP Lunch.

9. My parents made me take this

course…I’ll show them!

8. People might see me do it and

think I’m trying to be

smart or something.

7. It takes too much time.

the top ten reasons i don t underline
The Top Ten Reasons I Don’t Underline

6. I can’t draw a straight line or circle.

5. I don’t want to mark up the page. It’s so pretty!

4. It’s so “whatever... like you know.”

3. #2 Black Lead is so depressing.

2. Following rules is a real drag, man.

And, the #1 reason why students don’t

want to underline Key Words/Clues:

1. It stifles my creativity!

slide33

The Olympic swimmer’s body temperature began to decline after hours of exposure to the _____ water of the English Channel.

A. temperate

B. frigid

C. polluted

D. turbulent

E. murky

slide34

Though his lecture contained ideas that were soporific and dull, his style of delivery was so _____ I actually became quite interested.

A. bland

B. hypnotic

C. laconic

D. histrionic

E. belligerent

She was a woman of contrasts; periods of _____alternated with periods of frenetic activity.

A. animation

B. torpor

C. profundity

D. ebullience

E. invincibility

slide36
Causal

Because she has a great need for _____, she greatly dislikes the public appearances required of her as a best-selling author.

A. luxury

B. solitude

C. fame

D. amusement

E. praise

slide37
Contrasting
  • Although Oscar’s life was both _____ and painful, it was not without _____, for he had accomplished many goals in his life.

A. defiant . . . strife

B. tragic . . . frustration

C. gratifying . . . satisfaction

D. arduous . . . reward

E. purposeful . . . ambition

slide38
Coordinate

This successful “dot.com” entrepreneur is _____ and _____; always positive in attitude and attentive to small details.

A. energetic … oblivious

B. upbeat … alert

C. cynical … heedless

D. caustic … careful

E. wealthy… wary

slide39
CoordinateBoth by _____ and by _____, American painter Mary Cassatt was an anomaly, because her artistic peers were French men.

A. background … achievements

B. aptitude … intellect

C. talent … expertise

D. style … range

E. nationality … gender

slide40

Comfort Zone WordsWords Seen Or Heard In English Class, But Not Really Known Or Understood By J.A.S.These Words Seem Familiar To J.A.S.

trite, terse, hackneyed, cliché

tactic 10 double blank questions
Tactic #10: Double Blank Questions

_____ and _____

word and _____

_____ and word

Use one “word” position to eliminate wrong answers,

then use the other “word” position to find the correct

answer.

slide42
Burford was ______; he was cool.

No Slang!

Cool Dude = Aloof Amateur Cowboy

Burfetta was ______, that is she was sober.

sober = not intoxicated….but, it can mean “serious,

sad, solemn.

beware of multiple definition words
Beware of Multiple Definition Words
  • ANXIOUS
  • FLAG
  • HUSBAND
  • AUGUST
  • CATHOLIC
  • PEDESTRIAN
tactic 11 vocabulary problems
Tactic #11: Vocabulary Problems

What to do:

  • Look for roots and prefixes.
  • Use the “positive” or “negative” technique.
  • Pay close attention to “clue” words.
tactic 12 watch your time
Tactic #12: Watch Your Time

Count the number of questions!

  •  Short Passages - about 1 Minute/Question
  •  Medium Passages - # of Questions + 1
  •  Long Passages - # of Questions + 2
tactic 13 underline key words in the question
Tactic #13: Underline Key Words in the Question

This will allow you to:

  • select the questions to answer first.
  • identify key words to look for in the passage to answer specific questions.
  • get a basic idea about the topic of the passage.
tactics 14 eliminate the distracters
Tactics #14 Eliminate The Distracters
  • In Critical Reading Passage Questions, it is essential that incorrect answers be marked out!
  • Paraphrase the question and eliminate any answers that do not specifically address what is being asked.
slide49

Critical Reading Summary Read Questions First - Organize Your Plan Of Attack Answer “Vocab” Questions - First Answer “Single-Line Number Questions - Second Answer “Multi-Line Number Questions - Third Answer Specific Fact Questions - Fourth Save For Last - “Primary Purpose” “Main Idea” “Best Title” “Implied/Inferred Questions” Tone/Mood Questions

Tactics15 - 17

tactic 18 paired passages
Tactic #18:Paired Passages

Do them in the following order:

  • Answer all questions of the first passage.
  • Answer all questions of the second passage.
  • Answer all questions that concern both passages or authors.
bonus tactic tone attitude questions
Bonus Tactic: Tone/Attitude Questions

What to do:

  • Answer this type last.
  • Use process of elimination.
  • Define remaining words in your own words.
slide52

Critical Reading Summary

  • Read Questions First – Organize Your Plan
  • Of Attack
  • Answer Vocab Questions
  • Answer Single-Line Number Questions
  • Answer Multi-Line Number Questions
  • Answer Specific Fact Questions
  • Answer "Best Title," "Summary,“

"Main Idea," "Author's Purpose,” or

"Implied/Inferred Questions”

Do Not Make Random Guesses On

Critical Reading Passage Questions!

the hardest psat math question ever
The Hardest PSAT Math Question Ever!

94% missed it. Are you ready for this?

X + 2 = 5

X = ?

the hardest psat math question ever1
The Hardest PSAT Math Question Ever!

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah

X + 2 = 5

X = ?

slide57

Keys to Success On Math Questions

Key 1:

(a)

(b)

(c)

Key 2:

(a)

(b)

Underline Key Words

Numbers

Operations

Description Words

Use the drawing

Put facts on the figure.

Draw it if it’s not there.

slide58

KEY # 4 - ATQA: Answer The Question Asked!

Keys To Success On Math Questions

KEY # 3 - Write The Formula

(a) Look for the last comma - What follows is the

question being asked!

(b) Read the WHOLE last sentence!

If there is no comma, the question

will be the last sentence.

tactic 19 the magic number list
Tactic #19 - The “Magic Number List”

12. If n pizzas can be made for d dollars, how

many dollars will it cost to make p pizzas

at the same rate?

(A) (pd)  n

(B) (p)  (nd)

(C) (np)  p

(D) (nd)  p

(E) npd

slide61

20. If x and y are positive integers, then 5x 2(x+y) =A. 10x  2yB. 102x  2yC. 10x+yD. 102x+yE. 52(x+y)

tactic 20 plug it in plug it in
Tactic #20 - Plug It In, Plug It In

Ex. 1: If the average (arithmetic mean) of 4, 5,6,

and K is 8, then K =

(A) 8

(B) 10

(C) 12

(D) 15

(E) 17

tactic 25 weird symbols
TACTIC #25 - Weird Symbols

If = 4N - 4, then + =

N

5

3

(A)

(B)

(C)

(D)

(E)

6

7

8

24

28

slide65

IMPROVING SENTENCES

Eating food with a high concentration of fat causes the same reaction in the stomach than if you eat too fast.

A. than if you eat

B. than to eat

C. as if one eats

D. as eating

E. as it does when eating

slide66

Identifying Sentence Errors

For its nineteenth-century explorer and discoverers,

A

Bohemia were an identifiable country with visible

B

inhabitants, but one not marked on any map.

C D

No error

E

writing skills plan of attack
Writing Skills Plan Of Attack

I. IMPROVING SENTENCES

All or part of the sentence will be underlined.

Answer (A) is the same as "No Error" – 20% Rule.

If there is a mistake, mark out (A) immediately!

writing skills plan of attack1
Writing Skills Plan Of Attack

II. IDENTIFYING SENTENCE ERRORS

Only one error per sentence – error will be underlined.

Answer (E) – "No Error" – 20% Rule

If an underlined part is correct, mark it out.

Everyone on the baseball teamwho came up

A B

to bat squinted at the pitcher in order to keep the

C

sun’s glaring rays out of their eyes. No error

D E

writing skills plan of attack2
Writing Skills Plan Of Attack

III. IMPROVING PARAGRAPHS

  • DO NOT Read the passage – Go To Questions!
  • Revision, Combination, Content Questions
  • Do Any Questions That Do Not Require

Going Back To The Passage – First!