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PSAT Workshop

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Christal Dionne

on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of PSAT Workshop

Writing Skills
PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)

The PSAT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC (National Merit Scholarship Corporation) scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.

What is on
the test?
The PSAT includes five sections:
Two 25-minute critical reading sections
Two 25-minute math sections
One 30-minute writing skills section

The whole test requires two hours and 10 minutes.
Critical Reading
Sentence Completion and Passage Based Reading
Sentence Completion questions measure your knowledge of the meanings of words and ability to understand how the different parts of a sentence logically fit together.
Focuses on a student's ability to read critically, to think logically, analyze, and evaluate.

Writing Skills
Identifying Sentence Errors, Improving Sentences, and Improving Paragraphs

The multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure your ability to express ideas effectively in standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning.
Writing skills questions present sentences and paragraphs that contain the kinds of errors that students must look for and learn to correct in their own writing, including:
Expressing ideas effectively in standard written English.
Recognizing faults in usage and structure.
Using language with sensitivity to meaning.
Multiple Choice and Grid-Ins
The math section requires a basic knowledge of number and operation; algebra and functions (though not content covered in third-year math classes--content that will appear on the new SAT); geometry and measurement; and data analysis, statistics, and probability. You can use a calculator to answer math questions, but no question on the test requires a calculator.
The primary aim of the math section is to assess how well students understand math. Can students apply what they already know to new situations and what they already know to solve non-routine problems?
Preparing Long Term and Short Term
What does the PSAT measure?
Critical reading skills
Math problem-solving skills
Writing skills
Sentence Completion questions measure your knowledge of the meanings of words and ability to understand how the different parts of a sentence logically fit together.
The purpose of sentence completion questions are to test a student's ability to recognize logical relationships among elements of a sentence and to measure vocabulary context of the sentence.
Sentence Completion
Sentence completion questions require students to follow the logic of an idea expressed in a fairly complex sentence. Sentences are given with one or two words omitted. The correct answer is the word or set of words that, when placed in the blank(s) best fit the sentence as a whole.
General Hints for Sentence Completion Questions.
Read the entire sentence to yourself.
Watch for introductory or connecting words and phrases like "but," "not," "because," etc.
In sentences with two blanks, make sure the words for both blanks make sense in the sentence.
Start by working with one blank at a time.
Stay within the meaning of the sentence.
Before you mark your answer, read the complete sentence with your choice filled in.
Passage Based Reading
Passage-Based Reading questions measure your ability to read and think carefully about a single reading passage or a pair of related passages.

Passage Based Reading
Questions may ask students to...
Understand significant information in the passage.
Figure out the meaning of a word from its context.
Analyze and evaluate ideas, opinions, and arguments.
Make inferences and recognize implications.
Understand the tone of what is being said.
Understand the use of examples.
Recognize the purpose of various writing strategies.
Relate one part of a passage to another part.
Determine an author's purpose or perspective.
Distinguish conflicting view points.
Make connections between different parts of a passage.
Compare or contrast ideas in a passage or in a pair of related passages.
Hints for Passage
Based Questions.
Don't skip introductions to passages.
Read each passage and any accompanying information carefully. Follow the author's reasoning and be aware of features such as assumptions, attitudes, and tone.
You may find it helpful to mark the passages as you are reading, but don't spend too much time making notes.
Read each question and all the answer choices carefully.
When a question asks you to compare an aspect of a pair of passages, don't be misled by choices that are correct for only one of the two passages.
Select the choice that best answers the question asked. Don't select a choice just because it is a true statement.
You may find it helpful to read the questions first to get an idea of what to look for. Or, you may prefer to read the passage and try to answer the questions.
Passage Based Reading
These passages are...
Drawn from a variety of fields including humanities, social studies, and natural sciences. They may also be excerpted from works of fiction.
Varied in style and may include narrative, argumentative, expository elements.
About 100-850 words and will often include an introduction and/or footnotes.
Multiple Choice Questions:
Students must solve each problem and decide which of the five choices given is the best. Basic geometric formulas are included in the test booklet for reference.
Hints for Answering Math Multiple Choice Questions
Look at the answer choices before you begin to work on each question.
Read each question carefully, even if it looks like a question you don't think you can answer. Don't let the form of the question keep you from trying to answer it.
If your answer isn't among the choices, try writing it in a different form. You may have the same answer in a different mathematical format.
(Student Produced Responses)
Student produced response questions...
Do not include answer choices.
May have more than one correct answer.
Have no deduction for incorrect answers (because guessing is almost impossible).
(Student Produced Responses)
When students enter their responses to these questions on the answer sheet:
It doesn't matter in which column students begin entering their answers; as long as the correct answer is gridded, students will receive credit.
Only answers entered in the ovals in each grid area will be correct. Students will not receive credit for anything written in the boxes above the ovals.
Hints for
Answering Grid-Ins
Since answer choices aren't given, a calculator may be helpful in avoiding careless mistakes on these questions.
It's suggested that you write your answer in the boxes above the grid to avoid errors in gridding.
The grid can hold only four places and can accommodate only positive numbers and zero.
Do not worry about which column to begin gridding the answer. As long as the answer is gridded completely, you will receive credit.
Unless a problem indicates otherwise, an answer can be entered on the grid either as a decimal or as a fraction.
You don't have to reduce fractions like 3/24 to their lowest terms.
Convert all mixed numbers to improper fractions before gridding the answer.
If the answer is a repeating decimal, you must grid the most accurate value the grid will accommodate.
Some questions may have more than one right answer.
You don't lose any points for a wrong answer.
Know the gridding rules before taking the test.
Math Concepts Covered in the PSAT
Numbers and Operation
Algebra and Functions
Geometry and Measurement
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Numbers and Operation
Arithmetic Word Problems
Prime Numbers
Ratio and Proportion
Logical Reasoning
Sets (union, intersection, and elements)
Properties of Integers (even, odd, etc.)
Counting Techniques
Sequences and Series (including exponential growth)
Elementary Number Theory
Algebra and Functions
Properties of Exponents (including exponential growth)
Algebraic Word Problems
Absolute Value
Rational and Radical Equations
Equations of lines
Direct and Inverse Variation
Basic Concepts of Algebraic Functions
Newly Defined Symbols on Commonly Used Operations
Solutions of Linear Equations and Inequalities
Quadratic Equations
Simplifying Algebraic Expressions
Geometry and Measurement
Area and Perimeter of a Polygon
Area and Circumference of a Circle
Volume of a Box, Cube and Cylinder
Pythagorean Theorem and Special Properties of Isosceles Equilateral, and Right Triangles
Properties of Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
Coordinate Geometry
Geometric Visualization
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Data Interpretation
Statistics (means, median, and mode)
Hints to Identifying Sentence Errors
Read the entire sentence carefully but quickly.
Look at choices (A) through (D) to see whether anything needs to be changed to make the sentence correct.
Don't waste time searching for errors. Mark (E) No error, on your answer sheet if you believe the sentence is correct as written.
Move quickly through questions about Identifying Sentence Errors. The other kinds of questions (Improving Sentences and Improving Paragraphs) will probably take more time.
Mark questions that seem hard for you and return to them later.
Hints for
Improving Sentences
Read the entire sentence carefully but quickly. Note the underlined portion because that is the portion that may have to be revised.
Remember that the portion with no underline stays the same.
Mark choice (A) if the underlined portion seems correct. Check the other choices quickly to make sure that (A) is really the best choice.
Think of how you would revise the underlined portion if it seems wrong. Look for your revision among the choices given.
Replace the underlined portion of the sentence with choices (B) through (E) if you don't find your revision. Concentrate on the choices that seem clear and exact when you read them.
Hints for
Improving Paragraphs
Read the entire essay quickly to determine its overall meaning. The essay is meant to be a draft, so don't be surprised if you notice errors. Don't linger over those errors.
Make sure that your answer about a particular sentence or sentences makes sense in the context of the passage as a whole.
Choose the best answer from among the choices given, even if you can imagine another correct response.
Why should you take it?
Receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
See how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
Enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11).
Help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
Critical Reading
Two 25-minute critical reading sections = 48 questions

13 Sentence completions
35 Critical reading questions
Two 25-minute math sections = 38 questions

28 multiple-choice math questions
10 Student-produced responses also known as grid-ins
Students are advised to bring a calculator with which they are comfortable. Students should have basic knowledge of 4 math categories:

Numbers and Operation
Algebra and Functions (but not 3rd year level math that may appear on the new SAT)
Geometry and Measurement
Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability
Writing Skills
One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions

14 Identifying sentence errors
20 Improving sentences
5 Improving paragraph questions

These multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure a student's ability to express ideas effectively in standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning.
Long Term
Take a good selection of solid academic courses, read widely, and work hard at your studies.
Enroll in the most challenging courses you can handle in English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign languages, and fine arts.
Get involved in problem-solving activities through clubs, sports, hobbies, part-time jobs, etc.
Short Term
Take the practice test in the Official Student Guide to the PSAT.
Learn the directions for each type of math and critical reading question.
Try sample questions from past tests.
Earn as many points as you can on easy questions.
Read all the answer choices before marking your answer sheet.
Do your scratch work in the test book.
Don't feel you have to answer every question.
Work steadily -- don't waste time on hard questions. You can always go back to them later.
Check your answer sheet regularly to make sure you're in the right place.
Write your answers to grid-ins in the boxes above the ovals.
Try educated guessing when you can eliminate at least one answer to a multiple-choice question. Be sure you understand the difference between educated and random guessing.
Take a calculator.
Educated guessing means guessing an answer whenever you are able to eliminate one or more of the choices as definitely wrong. Educated guessing may help you.
Random guessing probably won't help you because of the way the test is scored. Random guessing means that you have no idea which answer choice is correct. Don't waste time on that kind of question. Move on to the next one.
You can earn an above-average score by getting only half the questions right and omitting the rest.

On the Tuesday test in 1999, for example, students who answered 26 of the 52 critical reading questions correctly and omitted the others earned a score of 51. On the Saturday test, students who answered 26 critical reading questions correctly and omitted the others earned a score of 52.
Students who answered 20 of the 40 math questions correctly on the Tuesday test (and omitted the rest) earned a score of 50; on the Saturday test, they earned a score of 51.
Students who answered 19 of the 39 writing skills questions correctly on the Tuesday or the Saturday test (and omitted the rest) earned a score of 54.
Because you lose a fraction of a point for questions you get wrong, if you answered some questions incorrectly you would need a slightly higher number of correct answers than the numbers above to earn a score of 50.
Where can I practice?

All information in this presentation is from http://www.collegeboard.com
These questions test knowledge of grammar, usage, word choice, and idiom. Students are required to find errors in sentences or indicate that there is no error.
Identifying Sentence Errors
Improving Sentences questions ask students to choose the best, most effective form of an underlined portion of a given sentence.
Improving Sentences
Improving paragraphs questions require students to make choices about improving the logic, coherence, or organization in a flawed passage.
Improving Paragraphs
Full transcript