SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

PSAT Practice Test - Updated for New 2015 PSAT

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Feb 6, 2015 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

 

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If you're looking for PSAT practice materials, then you've come to the right place. This guide contains all the free PSAT materials available for you to download, including 9 PSAT practice test pdfs.

Since the PSAT got a makeover in 2015, there aren't a ton of new practice tests out there. Luckily, you can still use old PSAT practice tests very effectively to prepare. Before getting to the practice questions, let's go over some of the changes that were made to the PSAT. If you care about your PSAT score, read carefully so you don't waste your time studying the wrong things!

 

How Did the PSAT Change in 2015?

Let's go over some of the main changes so you can use the older practice tests with a critical eye. College Board changed the test, by the way, in an attempt to make it more relevant and useful. They also have may been trying to address criticisms of inequity, as well as stay competitive with the increasingly popular ACT.

The content on both the PSAT and SAT is meant to be evidence-based and grounded in real-world situations. Rather than testing obscure vocabulary and little used concepts, the new tests are meant to reflect the skills and abilities students need for success in college and career. 

Let’s take a closer look at the content and skills changes in each of the three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. If you're using any of the old PSAT practice questions, you should be aware of these changes so you can study the right things. 

 

Changes In Reading

  • The redesigned PSAT does not have sentence completions. The PSAT now tests more commonly used vocabulary within the context of passages.
  • The passages include charts, graphs, and pictures. You may be asked about the relationship between a passage and the data being represented.
  • You are expected to practice evidence-based reading. You may be asked to find a specific line within a passage that demonstrates style, tone, point of view, or theme. You also might be asked to identify one or two lines that helped you answer a previous question.

The following sample question shows how the PSAT will ask about your understanding of a relatively common vocabulary word in the context of a larger passage (passage not shown here):

 

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Changes In Writing and Language

  • The PSAT now asks you to edit the grammar of sentences within passages, rather than of stand-alone sentences.
  • The Writing section also includes graphs, pictures, or tables.

 

Changes In Math

  • The new PSAT math questions relate to real-life situations in business, science, or the social sciences.
  • The grid-in word problems have multiple parts.
  • The math section will focus more on algebra and data analysis and less on geometry.

Here’s a sample question from College Board:

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Now that you're aware of these changes, you can adapt your approach as you prepare with practice materials from the last few years. Read on for the PSAT practice tests and learn how to use them to get a high score.

 

Practice with New PSAT Questions

College Board has released some online sample PSAT questions, as well as two official PSAT tests with answer keys. You can download both tests, along with the scoring guides to use after you finish practice testing:

 

PSAT Practice Test 1 — Score Your Test  Answer Explanations

PSAT Practice Test 2 — Score Your Test — Answer Explanations

 

College Board also created an online prep program in partnership with Khan Academy. The program is geared toward the SAT, but it can help you on the PSAT too, since the tests are so similar.  

While free practice materials for the current version of the PSAT are rather limited, you can still find a great deal of practice test pdfs for the old version. Find the tests below, and then read on for some tips about how to make the most of them. 

 

8 More PSAT Practice Tests

We’ve compiled 8 PSAT practice test pdfs for you to practice with. Download them here (the answer keys are included in the last few pages).

 

PSAT Practice Test PDF 1

PSAT Practice Test PDF 2

PSAT Practice Test PDF 3

PSAT Practice Test PDF 4

PSAT Practice Test PDF 5

PSAT Practice Test PDF 6

PSAT Practice Test PDF 7

PSAT Practice Test PDF 8

 

You can also find decent quality questions from Peterson’s - they offer a half-length PSAT test if you create a free account with them.

As you learned, these materials don't reflect the current format or content of the PSAT, but a lot of them still test the same skills and knowledge. So how can you use these questions to get ready?

 

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How to Use Old PSAT Practice Tests: 7 Tips

These tests are outdated, but they're certainly not useless. In fact, they test many of the same reading comprehension, grammar, and math problem-solving skills that you'll need for the redesigned PSAT. To make the most of these practice tests, you just have to shift your focus onto the skills that are still relevant and ignore questions that no longer matter. Check out these seven tips to make the most of these older PSAT practice tests. 

 

1. Focus on Evidence-Based Reading

The new PSAT is all about using evidence and context to determine your answer. If a set of passage-based reading ask you about tone, style, or argument, don’t just find the answer among the options. Instead, find the specific line that proves your answer is right.

 

2. Ignore Sentence Completion Questions

As we explained above, you'll no longer encounter these questions. Just skip them in the practice tests.

 

3. Shift Gears with Vocabulary

Don’t waste time memorizing long lists of obscure vocabulary words. Instead, brush up on your skills of determining meaning through context. Make sure to understand subtleties of connotation. As in the above example, “intense” may suggest “emotional” in one context, as when describing a person, and “concentrated” in another, as when describing a flavor.

 

4. Focus on Structure and Organization

The new PSAT tests your understanding of the structure and organization of whole passages, rather than of stand-alone sentences. As you’re reading a passage, take notes on its organization and make sure you understand its main and supporting ideas.

 

5. Pay Attention to Graphs, Tables, and Charts

Make sure you understand the data and information being represented in graphs. If there is no accompanying passage, write your own paragraph that describes the information. On the flip side, consider how the information or data presented in a passage could be represented visually. If there is limited practice with PSAT tests, other problems from your math and science classes are also useful practice, as well as ACT data interpretation questions from the Science section.  

 

6. Choose Your Math Problems

Focus more on algebra, data analysis, and word problems and focus less on geometry. Since the new PSAT involves multi-step grid-in problems, make sure to write out all the steps as you answer a question. Remember the age-old adage of math teachers everywhere and show your work.

 

7. Learn the Grammar Rules Tested

The new PSAT will feature grammar questions in a different format, but it'll test similar grammar rules. Make sure you learn the grammar rules, as you'll need to recognize grammatical errors in context on the new test as well.

  

What Else You Can Do to Prepare

Since the new PSAT is so similar to the new SAT, materials for the new SAT will also be good practice. It is also becoming more similar to the ACT, so ACT prep is helpful, as well.

Challenge yourself in your classes. Develop reading and writing skills through reading a variety of genres and writing frequently. In your math and science classes, focus on data analysis and your ability to interpret or represent data in graphs, charts, tables, and other visual expressions.  

All of this preparation will not only help you get a high score on the PSAT, but it is also highly relevant for the SAT. Since both tests are meant to test and sharpen your real world reasoning skills, this kind of preparation may be helpful for all kinds of problem-solving in your day-to-day life.

 

What's Next?

High scorers on the PSAT may qualify for National Merit. Learn what it takes to become a National Merit Semifinalist and National Merit Finalist and to win the scholarship.

Are you wondering if you should take the PSAT before junior year? Check out these guides to consider whether you should take the PSAT as a freshman or sophomore

Are you curious about how the PSAT compares to the SAT? Read this complete guide on the SAT and learn all about the test

 

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Rebecca Safier
About the Author

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.



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