So, I might be tutoring the PSAT. Any suggestions as to how to do this really well? I didn’t realize kids were getting tutored for the PSAT. I think it just goes to show how competitive education has become. When parents think their kids need to score well on a test that means absolutely nothing, it becomes a bit of a joke. But hey, I’m not complaining, because I’m going to get paid for this. It just seems really strange and really underscores the competitive nature of being a student.

I’m pretty sure Berkeley is considering not using SAT scores as a measure of success. So all these kids taking the PSAT/SAT might find themselves out of a whole lot of money with nothing to show for it, at least where Berkeley is concerned. And in a way, I think that’s a good thing, because the college board makes so much money out of this bullshit testing system. It’s ridiculous how much they control.

So, I’m only going to tutor the English sections. There’s a section on sentence completion (13 questions, 25 minutes), a section on critical reading (35 questions, 25 minutes), and one 30-minute writing skills section with three subsections, including identifying sentence errors (14 questions), improving sentences (20 questions), and improving paragraphs (5 questions).

Looks like I should focus on the critical reading section and the whole writing skills section, and just skim the sentence completion.

I need to send this person an email with the structure of my nonexistent prep class.

3 thoughts on “PSAT

  1. Hey Denis,
    I'm not sure how much experience you have with lesson planning and all that so this might be totally unnecessary, but when I was teaching, a really tight structure always made things much easier. Like in terms of a daily lesson having the “intro to new material->guided practice->check for understanding->independent practice->conclusion” and just dropping the content in was crucial. In the larger sense, planning units backwards (starting with the big idea and breaking it down into daily lessons) makes it a bit more manageable.

    This probably ranks high on the “duhhh” meter, but I can meet up whenever as well if you wanted to bounce some ideas around. I had to do lots of test prep instruction, and while it wasn't PSAT, it was high stakes testing in english that measured similar skills, albeit at the 7th and 8th grade levels.

    Good luck!

  2. While I don't disagree with you about standardized tests, I have to say that the PSAT is not “a test that means absolutely nothing”. If students score well enough, it can be the first step toward a National Merit Scholarship, which can mean full tuition through four years of college. (I was a National Merit Scholar; that's the only reason I know this, or feel obliged to mention it.)

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