- Advice on National Merit Scholarship
- Advanced solving techniques
- Answer explanations
- Score boosting tips
- The content is easy to understand
- Practice test questions are given
- Drill questions are given
- Detailed Course Structures
- Pricing is bit high
Here we will guide you on the best PSAT Prep Books of 2020 available to you for the most high-grade preparation.
We all have our ways of taking tests as well as studying for them. Most of the students usually prefer books as it is an authentic way of preparing themselves for the exam; however, many students go for online courses as well.
This is where a good book could come in handy to you, books these days are not just giving you knowledge and information about the content, books these days are a much broader topic to talk about.
Best PSAT Prep Books
1. The Princeton Review Cracking The PSAT/NMSQT
This book is at the top of my list for all the ample tools it includes. It has information that will guide you every step of the way before you prepare for your exam. This prep book has it all from your drills to your practice sessions and strategies for answering multiple-choice questions.
The book includes techniques that help you improve your PSAT score. Experts at Princeton Review have put a lot of effort into training high school students to ace the exam. You also get a study guide that helps you manage your study sessions. The book includes
- Critical math reading
- Grammar skills for PSAT
- Two full-length practical tests
- 220+ drill questions
- Practice test questions
- Answer explanations
- Problem-solving tactics
- Information on scholarship
- Strategies to score marks in MCQs
This book is only suitable for students who have existing knowledge in the field and can cope with high standards.
2. Barron’s Strategies And Practice For The New PSAT/NMSQT
Undoubtedly, this is one of the best books at a reasonable price, and you will not find content like this anywhere. The Barron’s book is not as thick as the Princeton Review, but you don’t need it to be that thick.
Though it is just half the Princeton Review, it is only the right content you need to learn, and I would say why do you want to spend more time learning things that can be absorbed more easily?
Like most books, this one also has all the essential content from your exam point of view, like the usual trips n tricks and approach towards the challenging section of the paper. You get two full practice exams to attempt, which is another outstanding feature of the book.
We all know that it is scientifically proven that the best way to improve oneself is by improving test scores, and the practice exams will surely help you achieve that.
It is priced very low at just 10$, and you can visit Amazon for your purchase.
This book includes
- Test tips
- Two full practice tests
- Advice on National Merit Scholarship
- Score boosting tips
- Answer explanations
The drawback of this book is that some reviews are vague at the end of the chapters and create a sense of confusion among students. However, its pros are highly weighable, making it one of the best prep books for PSAT. It is worth your money.
3. Barron’s 1520: Aiming for National Merit
This book was specifically created to reach 1520, that is the maximum marks on this course. Who doesn’t want to achieve that score, all of us would love to? The level of difficulty of this course is very extreme.
Most of the things that are being dealt with in this course are of a standard much higher than what will be asked in your paper. Many highly capable students consider this a benefit as they can work harder and achieve the 1520 feat; however, it has disadvantages.
When you attempt a practically much harder test than your actual exam, you tend to misguide yourself with the timings of the paper. This book is a bit longer than the other Barron’s books.
If you have a lot of free time to invest in your studies, this book will surely help you claim the National Merit. However, if you are an average student, don’t buy it as it is very advanced and will end up complicating things for you.
Because of its superior content, this book is priced double Barron’s original book. It starts at $19. when you compare it to Princeton’s Review, and it is still very affordable.
Though an excellent book, it has some typographical errors which should have been avoided. This book includes:
- Advanced solving techniques
- In-depth analysis of concepts
- Information on NATIONAL MERIT
These are the top 3 picks for you to achieve great heights with your PSAT score. However, there are some books that I would recommend you not to buy, and these books are outdated and don’t have enough content for your smooth learning.
Books to Avoid in PSAT Prep
PSAT Prep Book 2016 by the PSAT Prep Team
The issue with this book is that it has not been updated for the latest PSAT exam, the book is a 2016 edition which is undoubtedly outdated to be used from 2020 onwards.
Many users might get attracted to the low pricing and end up purchasing the book, and this book will only help you with minimal content.
The book also claims to have been made for the 2016 exam; however, this is not true. The book includes a lot of errors, like unmatched questions and answers, and so on.
Kaplan PSAT/NMSQT 2017
A book with a great cover but zero knowledge. There are numerous editing errors and a lot of questions, and their answers don’t match.
They do offer free online tests to students, but again, that process has a hectic registering process to undergo. Though considered a famous publisher, Kaplan has not come up to the mark on this one.
You now know what to choose and what to ignore among the books available in the market. These books cover a significant part of your tour towards writing your exam. However, you need specific additional tips to excel.
Overview on PSAT Prep Books
If you are in high school, it is understandable that you are mostly forced to take up the PSAT by your school, and that inevitably leaves you with no options but to give it a go. However, many of us just consider it as an entry ticket to a college.
There are various other pros it offers you if you score well, such as qualifying for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and getting into the more prominent colleges for free.
Many reputed colleges consider the PSAT score as a standard to provide quality free education to deserving students. You could simply say that it’s one of the stepping stones towards your success.
Stressing about the exam is not going to take you anywhere, there are a lot of influential factors to be considered while you make any exam for that matter. The pressure keeps on increasing on students when there is a bar set by colleges to get admissions.
Many are cold as ice and handle the pressure fantastically, whereas there are a few whom you could call the melting ice. They overthink. The stress takes over them, resulting in poor preparation and an unfortunate result.
They include all the material you need for your reference from essential issues to frequently asked questions and unsolved papers. A book has become a complete guide to one’s learning.
No one wants to be an average student who just takes the exam to pass it. We are all very ambitious and want to give our best. We know that books can help us do so, but with the increasing number of books and market competition, we go into a dilemma and make the wrong decisions.
We all know that PSAT is widely famous across the United States, and the internet has numerous options available for your study. Exploring the web, you will come across content that is free and content that will be way out of your budget.
Many students go for free content as they are not willing to spend much on PSAT preparation. However, if you want to outshine others, you must be ready to make some suitable investments in your education.
The PSAT is given to students in their respective schools in October. The duration of the test is about 2.75 hours, the maximum score being 1520. The test has been divided into various sections based on what the students would need necessarily in their college education.
The PSAT Tests for individuals include the following:
Students are given several passages and asked to analyze them and answer questions based on their readings. This mainly focuses on your analysis of the details mentioned in the journey rather than your ability to memorize.
Writing and language test:
This section focuses on what the students would frequently use, like their skills, their reading ability, ability to locate errors as well as challenges them to make appropriate corrections. Questions are spread across a wide area.
There are other subjects included such as history, social studies as well as other key figures of the world.
This test checks on the ability of the student’s adaptation based on what they have already learned in school so that they can prepare themselves for more in-depth learning in the college. Before taking any competitive exam, it is essential to know the criteria on which the answers to the test will be based on.
Each part of the test is established in such a way that they can project where a student stands on various skills based on his rank. It is their performance that guides them for preparing themselves for the SAT as well as their future education.
Features PSAT Prep Books
The significant features of a PSAT Prep books are:
This provides students an introduction about PSAT and also how they should approach the course through this book. These help you realize what your expectations are as well as guide you on how to score high.
You can get National Merit Scholarships by scoring high rank in PSAT, the course informs students about the requirements for the scholarship and other details.
This is an essential feature from the exam point of view as it educates the students about how to go about the tests and what type of questions can be asked.
Studying and taking test strategies:
The books offer you incredible knowledge on how you can study for the tests, you also get some tricks and shortcuts here and there. Some books also offer techniques on how you can deal with difficult questions.
There are many practice tests available for students to know their progress with their preparations. The best books have a lot of tests, along with details on when you can take them.
Some books contain drills that help students with sample answers that are similar to the ones that come for the exam; this allows students to understand the problematic subjects better.
Pricing of PSAT books
The most user-friendly thing about the PSAT books is that they are available to you at a pocket-friendly price that students can easily afford. The pricing usually begins at $7, but these books don’t have a lot of in-depth learning to get a high rank.
The mid-range books lie between $15 to $40, and they most certainly have good material for the price they are offering it. The expensive books are the ones with a complete package that includes drills and practice sessions, and the costs for these don’t go above $50.
You get additional content with books like sample papers, which I recommend to buy as they help intensely in your preparations. These papers cost very less and are worth the time.
After knowing what the PSAT is and what it expects from students, here is a list of the best books for the PSAT prep course.
Criteria of Judgment for PSAT
Reading comprehension and understanding them shows students’ ability to analyze their understanding of how well the words are used and how well they can answer the questions and interpret information based on their knowledge of the paragraph.
Basic understanding of Math:
The math division of PSAT assists in determining a student’s knowledge and understanding of basic math concepts alongside their ability to solve a wide range of problems. It also projects how well a student can apply math in his daily life as well.
Defense and transparency of arguments:
In the writing and language test, students are marked on their ability to form arguments to support their writings and their editorial concepts, sentence structure, syntax, and style.
We all have a habit of checking the features of any product before we look to purchase it. The same goes for PSAT prep books. Lets me tell you what you should keep in mind before making your purchase.
The PSAT books come with several features as these books are made to sharpen their knowledge and skills before the students appear for the exam.
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FAQs | Best PSAT Prep Books
Appearing for such exams, you have a lot of questions in your mind. Therefore here are a few most common FAQs on PSAT.
❓ How is the PSAT scored?
The PSAT has two section scores of 160-760, so your score will range between 320 to 1520.
❓ How many PSAT attempts can I take?
You can appear for the exam in your 10th and 11th grade, most of the students take it up in the junior year as the junior year marks count for the NATIONAL MERIT qualifications, very few students take up the course in their sophomore year.
❓ What is the cutoff score for NATIONAL MERIT?
The score varies based on geographical positions; students in competitive states like California will have a cutoff score of 1470. In contrast, the less competitive states like Alaska give you a cutoff of 1400.
❓ Can you bring a book to the PSAT?
Since the PSAT follows quite strict rules, you will have to leave your bag with your books, snacks, and many other things in the designated area.
❓ Are students allowed to use calculators during the exam?
Only 1 section in the paper permits the use of calculators. However, other parts will have to be worked out without a calculator.
❓ How important is the practice papers in the prep books?
Practice papers are essential as they give you a lot of exposure to how the PSAT is going to be, you can learn to manage your time as well through these.
The Final Verdict | The Best PSAT Prep Books 2020
Buying a book simply won’t help; you should use the resources in the material to the best extent.
Many students have a habit of purchasing expensive and thick books that they will refer to once or twice, and then those books will be lying around in the corner of their house.
Self-study is the best way to learn for the PSAT. My recommendations to you youngsters would be to not waste time on tutors for this purpose, tutors can be used for SAT or other major competitive exams, PSAT is based on what you have learned, and all you need to do is brush up your skills using these books.
The intensity of PSAT is very mild compared to that of SAT since PSAT is just a practice test for the SAT; the same goes for the resources. You will easily find a lot of resources for your SAT prep, whereas PSAT content is comparatively less.
If you have bigger plans in mind, I would personally suggest you preserve your financial support to buy great content for your SAT rather than having it all invested just for the PSAT.