How to Study for the PSAT Exam?



Take the SAT exam practice tests. Study for the PSAT by using the same study materials and strategies as for the SAT. 

Use test-taking strategies, for example, do not leave any answer blank. To ensure this happens, when you near the last 5 minutes of any section, jump to the last question on that section and begin filling on bubbles on the answer sheet, stopping 3 or 4 from the one you left off from. What bubble to fill-in? One of the strategies is to DECIDE right now which bubble will be your, "I have no clue" answer bubble. (Choose bubble 1, 2, 3, or 4. Never the last, 5th bubble.) Since answers are mostly evenly distributed throughout the test, always choosing the (?) bubble ensures that you'll get 25% of those 'I have no clue' answers correct. 

Take the SAT practice tests under test-taking conditions--no distractions. No cell phone. No getting up from the cair except for ONE 5 minute break sometime in the middle.

After taking the...

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Why is the PSAT important?


In the Junior year, the PSAT exam counts as a qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship. You are only competing against other juniors in YOUR state. 8000 first-place winners are chosen as National Merit Scholars and the scholarship for that can be anywhere from $2500 to $100,000 depending on the college you choose to attend. 

For Freshmen and Sophomores taking the PSAT for practice has been shown to increase the junior year scores by 15 points. So this is important.

If the parents work for any of the corporate sponsors there may be a scholarship available through the parent's employer for taking the exam and doing well. Generally, if this is the case, the corporation has an application that must be submitted MONTHS in advance of taking the exam, sometimes as early as winter of the sophomore year. Check the list:


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Are Grades Important?

I recently read an article in which the author opined that as a society we are much too grade-obsessed and that grades are not indicative of the real world. The author went on to say that the obsession with grades makes the transition to employment difficult. I disagree.

While grades may not be the best method of determining mastery of a subject, it is what we have today. High school grades, especially grades received in rigorous courses, colleges say are the best indicator of college success. In other words, if you can handle college-level work in high school you will likely pass and graduate from your 4-year college or university.

I will however caution parents and teens with regard to the number of rigorous courses taken in high school. It's unnecessary to take 15 AP courses to impress colleges admissions. For the vast majority of teens, taking an abundance of rigorous courses in high school will likely result in less time available to pursue extracurricular activities, community...

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Mind the Gap: Is Your Teen Considering Taking a Gap Year?

Is your teen considering taking a Gap Year? What are the Pros and Cons?
A gap year can be very good for your teen IF they have a good reason such as…

-exploring opportunities that will help them decide on a college major or career path
-working to save money for college cost
-traveling worldwide to expand their knowledge of self and experiences
-working with a mission team abroad

However, if they are going to spend their time playing video games then no. This is not a good idea.
Colleges like it when a teen has a plan and fulfills it.
Assuming college is the next step after a gap year there are 2 ways to approach it. If the teen does not have the stats for scholarships then this part is not a big deal. However, if your teen is expecting scholarships, then the teen should talk with the admissions (and the financial aid/scholarships) office of the schools he plans/hopes to attend and ask how they prefer he approach it?
Some colleges...
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Why is College So Expensive?!

Why is college so expensive? 

I recently answered this question for a national media outlet. 

So, why IS college so expensive? And what can teens and parents do to minimize the cost?
We could ask the same question of buying a car. Most people wouldn't pay the "sticker price” when buying a new car. There is plenty of negotiating room.
The same is true when it comes to paying for college.
Higher education is a business. And businesses can charge what they want, reasonable or not, for their product. It’s your choice to buy a $200 cotton t-shirt from a fancy department store brand, or buy a cotton t-shirt from a discount store.
Parents and high school counselors are in shock over the “sticker price” of college costs. But the truth is, 76% of American students pay on average 56% of the sticker price. International students tend to pay the full cost. As an American, you have to actually WANT to pay full freight. Those...
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Ivy Day: Why You Shouldn't Care

This year, Ivy League schools chose April 6th 2021 as the date they announce their regular decision acceptances, otherwise known as Ivy Day. (Turn on the waterworks 'cuz here comes a flood of tears.) An average of 90%  to 97% of applicants will be rejected. Even fewer this year than last due to many students taking a gap year in 2020 due to covid restrictions. But here's the truth.:

It doesn't matter, not one iota, where the degree comes from.

We've been fed a lie and a lot of marketing hype. And I can prove it.

It may seem strange for someone in my position to dismiss Ivy schools, after all didn't we have a huge scandal with parents, teachers, and counselors cheating to get their kids into these "top-twenty" schools? So it must be important, right?

First, let me assure you, I've done the research. Those who know me, know that I will research to the death, to be absolutely certain, before I state anything. The research, and not just mine (Google Dale &...

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Expert Tips for Internship and Post College Graduation Employment

College seniors have their hands full before graduation, and they may miss some important career-prep activities. Here is a last-minute checklist of things to do before graduation and begin their job search. All of these are also for college summer internship employment as well.

It's never too late to begin looking for internship or post graduate employment. However, many employers begin posting applications for both as early as the August of college senior year. So don't wait. Start now!

___ Line up references (professors, internship managers,
supervisors, etc.) 

visiting career services,

___Clean up all social media pages

___ Register with the college or university career center. Employers who often recruit from your college or university may post applications through the career center. In most cases you will not be notified when a matching opportunity comes along so be sure to check the site weekly.
___ Register on several employment websites such as ...
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Community college as a financial strategy?

A parent asked a lot of questions surrounding the concept of attending community college.:

-Pros/Cons of attending community college or a smaller, local university for first two years of studies with goal of obtaining Bachelor’s from a larger University.

-Is the savings and small step into college life beneficial?

-Is it harder to get accepted to a 4-year college with a two year transfer plan?

-Does the student apply for their dream college now and let admissions know they plan on the first two years elsewhere or does student apply after first two years are underway?

-Is this generally frowned upon or welcomed by admissions?


As you can see there are a lot of very good questions here. Here's my take on it.

Community college is a good idea to gain credits WHILE still a high school student as dual enrollment. But that's a topic for another day.
Is it also a good idea as the first 2 years after high school IF AND ONLY IF the student does...
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Are Your Teens Falling Behind Due to COVID online learning?

Most kids regardless of age have been educating ‘online’ since March of last year. Are they falling behind? A recent study showed that your kids may have already lost 30%-50% of what they learned last year due to struggling with online learning and disruptions. This includes college students as well especially freshmen who even without all this COVID and online learning were already having to adjust to college life, rigorous schoolwork, and living away from home, then lets add the pandemic isolation, stress, and overwhelm. Parents should be concerned whether your kids are in middle school or college.


Prep Expert is offering academic success coaching from middle school through college students.


Go to this link and click the ‘MENTORING’ tab at the top of the page, then select the age group of your child for details specific to your family.


They are...

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Exploring colleges without visiting them

So we are still kind of stuck with social distancing and such. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on exploring potential colleges. (NOTE: There are some colleges that are open to in person visitation.)
Let's start with 'who' and 'when' you should begin looking at colleges and narrowing the college list. It's perfectly fine for high school freshmen, sophomores and even earlier to begin getting a feel for the type of college they may want to attend. Parents should also be involved in the process since there will be money involved at some point. Plus, as a parent your teen is trusting you to advise, even if they seem to not want it. For in person fairs and tours parents should attend with their teen, but once your teen is a high school junior it is best to 'take a back seat' and do more listening that talking.
There are several virtual college fairs taking place this spring. Most will have several hundred colleges participating. (Keeping in mind there are...
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