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Reading as Tested on the PSAT/NMSQT®

What Is the PSAT/NMSQT®?

It is a test usually taken in the spring of your sophomore year in high school and is great preparation for the SAT® test you may take the following year(s). The PSAT/NMSQT® can also provide test data needed for scholarship applications.

What Does It Measure?

The PSAT/NMSQT® is a test designed to measure your knowledge, your ability to synthesize information, and your ability to retain information you’ve learned throughout your school career. While many tests urge you to memorize a prescribed list of facts, the PSAT/NMSQT® encourages you to develop a broad range of knowledge that accurately reflects the information and skills you’ve gained throughout elementary, middle, and high school.

So, What’s the Reading Section Like?

The Reading portion of the PSAT/NMSQT® is designed in the same way; the PSAT/NMSQT® Reading test examines your ability to understand, synthesize, and recall information specific to a given passage. This means that you must be able to read through a piece, gather information provided in the piece, and correctly identify what the passage is working to convey. Passages vary in terms of content and structure and include passages from official U.S. history documents, science-based articles, the social sciences, and literature.

What Kind of Questions Are On the Reading Test?

Although the content of these passages varies, the overall goal is the same: to measure your understanding. Some questions will ask you to find evidence to support a particular idea. Others will ask you about the context of a word or a passage overall, to determine what a word means or what the author intended. Still others will require you to interpret data and deliver the meaning of implications embedded within the passage.

How Should I Prepare?

To successfully prepare for the Reading portion of the PSAT/NMSQT®, practice reading passages from literature, history, science, and social sciences—many of which can be found in a newspaper or via a local library. After reading these passages, take notes and identify thesis statements and supporting details, the meaning of unfamiliar words based on context, and important facts and figures within the piece. Doing this exercise regularly with unfamiliar articles will go a long way in preparing you to take the PSAT/NMSQT®.

For free materials to help in your preparation for all of the PSAT/NMSQT® sections, try this:

Union Test Prep’s Preparation for the PSAT/NMSQT®

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