4 Helpful PSAT Practice Resources

psat practice resources

PSAT is Done!!!

Today your day was consumed with PSAT testing. You attended 2nd, 4th, and 7th periods. 4th period completed the comprehension assessment for “Drummer Boy”. I saw some impressive sustained focus on the work during the testing sessions. Congratulations tackling your first PSAT with fearless engagement!!!

Remember, the first round of testing is meant to be a marker for you. As I’ve said in the past, don’t run away from these score, run to them. Identify your plusses and deltas – your strengths and areas needing support. Improving your performance means knowing what you don’t know… and then taking action to develop your knowledge base.

Math Support

The College Board PSAT results can be connected to Khan Academy. When you log in your PSAT results, Khan Academy actually provides suggested lessons to support your progress. If you included an email and/or phone number on the test document, they will share information about this with through email or text message.

If you did not include and email or phone number, contact the College Board and they can offer guidance on how to make a connect with them and Khan Academy. Access the College Board website here.

Here are some useful links taken directly from the Khan Academy Official Website

Better SAT Prep with Khan Academy – The College Board Blog

The College Board partnered with Khan Academy® for a new and improved approach to SAT test preparation: Official SAT Practice.


Free SAT Practice on Khan Academy

Official SAT Practice from College Board and Khan Academy lets students link PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, PSAT 8/9, and new SAT results to get personalized practice.


How to Link your Khan Academy Account

Send your PSAT/NMSQT scores to Khan Academy and start practicing for the SAT today.


Khan Academy Practice

The College Board and Khan Academy are teaming up to provide free practice for all students, with study resources tailored to meet each student’s needs.


English Support

If you want some support in grammar, check out GrammarPlanet.com. This site provides an entire curriculum, you can work at your own pace. There are video lessons, downloadable notes, and activities to support the development of your understanding of grammar.

It starts with the most basic skills and cycles towards more challenging rules and skills. My suggestion is to go through the entire program, skipping nothing. This way you can fill in any gaps you have in your understanding of grammar and build your confidence.

Then you can go practice those skills on NoRedInk.com This is an excellent practice site. The instruction on this site is delivered in detailed notes you can review before and after your session.

PSAT Practice Test

Of course you can always access PSAT practice online. You can download and print up the entire practice tests. There are two. I would work through a few questions at a time, taking a deep dive in applying test taking strategies and active reading skills you’ve learned.

Official PSAT Practice Test 1  — Score Your Test — Answer Explanations

Official PSAT Practice Test 2  — Score Your Test — Answer Explanations

After you comb through the test sessions a small nugget at a time, print up the test again and time yourself for each section. There are keys available too. This means you can check your results. If there are areas with deficiencies, search the internet for review of those skills.

Ivy Global

Ivy Global test prep company provides similar questions to PSAT testing. The questions look like PSAT questions and are useful practice. You can access their version of a PSAT practice test here. However, they are not exactly what you experience on the PSAT. Nonetheless, they are helpful for developing test taking strategies and over all academic skills.



How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

How to use the Pomodoro Method

[VIDEO BELOW: How to Use the Pomodoro Technique]

If you want to know how to use the Pomodoro Technique to study more effectively watch the video below.

This time and attention method has been around for decades. If it’s worked for 1000’s of other students it may just work for you!

Why Use the Pomodoro Technique to Study?

Your time is valuable, so is your attention. It’s important to learn how to manage both to get the results you want…

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management that requires a timer. You can use a phone timer, a computer timer, or a kitchen timer.

Here’s how it works:

25 Minutes On, 5 Minutes off

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes. During this time you are going to work on one, and only one task.
  2. Next you set the timer for a 5 minute break. This gives you the chance to disconnect from the task and clear your head.
  3. Then Repeat the process a few more times.

With each new 25 minute work session, you can get back to the original task at hand or move to another task.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Decide what’s most important. Do you need to get the first task you started on done because of a deadline or due date? If so, you may want to continue with that task in the second Pomodoro session.

If you have other work that needs your attention and is a priority, then plan to tackle another task for the next 25 minute work session. Be sure to give yourself the five minute break after you’re done.

Take Your Time Seriously

One of the biggest challenges can be getting back to work. If you discover you need a little longer break, you may want to adjust your break time and make it and 8 minute break or even a 10 minute break before you continue with another work session.

Create Meaningful Experiences

Take some time and experiment with this method. Start out by using the 25 minute work session and 5 minute break session ratio. If the work session is too long, adjust. Set your work time for 20 minutes and see how it goes when followed by a 5 minute break.

Adjust as Needed

Tailor the work experience to your personal needs. Hey, you may even realize you’d prefer a 30 minute work session instead of 25 minutes. My finally advice is to just get started and be open to feeling a bit uncomfortable with the time constrains.

Observe Your Results

Take occasional moment to reflect on how it’s working. Notice what works and what doesn’t work. Time pressure maybe just what you  need to direct your attention towards a homework assignment you are less than enthusiastic about. Just keep in mind, the more to practice this process of focused, time bound attention, the better you’ll get at it.

Learn How to Use the Pomodoro Technique from an Expert



If you choose to experiment with this study method and it’s successful, be sure to share it with people you care about so they can improve their study habits, too! Happy studying!!!


5 Study Tips for Middle School

5 study tips



Developing study skills in middle school is essential to future success in high school. One of your main priorities should be developing independent learning skills. This means learning how to manage your focus and attention while prioritizing a rigorous work schedule for yourself each day.

Watch the video below and hear about some study tips coming from someone who’s experienced and remembers what 8th grade was like not too long ago.


When developing study habits…

  • be patient
  • experiment every day
  • observe the results
  • adjust regularly
  • put in the work

You don’t become efficiently skilled at anything if you ‘try it out” once or twice. You have to recreate experiences for yourself over and over again. You have to  look at the outcome after you put forth effort and decide how you’re going to change what you did for the next time your give it a go in order to get even better results.

That take time and effort. Dedicate yourself to increasing your focused attention to what you can do on your own to help yourself improve your independent learning skills. You have the opportunity each night to develop your brain. only you can grow your grey matter. The more brain work you do now, the easier brain work will be in the future.

Self-improvement requires grit.

Here are some notes on the video below. Read this article first, then watch the video. This young man has some pretty good study tips to help you.

Summary of Malachi’s Five Study Tips

Tip 1:Discover Your Learning Style

Consider taking an online survey to discover your learning styles. When you have a better idea of how you learn you’ll be able to tailor your work sessions to meet your brain’s natural tendencies.

This may take some experimentation, patience and grit, but your goal is to continually improve your study habits and become more efficient by nurturing independent learning skills. Trust me, the effort is well worth it.

The better you know yourself, the better you can serve yourself.


Tip #2: Prioritize Your Work

Pay attention to your habits. If you fall asleep while you read, don’t read right before bed. If you’re good at writing, tackle it quickly and get it done. Just remember, what’s easy to do is easy not to do.

So, you don’t want to leave a small assignment that’s very easy for the last minute because chances are you’re going to forget about it. Rank the importance of the assignments you have by time sensitivity. When are the assignments do? How much work is involved with getting work done for each assignments? Which assignments are easiest for you and which are the easiest?

All these questions will determine how to best tackle the academic tasks you have before you. What ever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to get the work done. If you have two weeks to complete a project or an assignment, you can’t possibly finish the assignment or project with the quality of work a teacher would expect from you in only one dedicated work session.

 Be realistic and give yourself the time you need. Your success is worth it.

Tip #3: Take Semi Frequent Breaks

You know when your brain gets tired. Give it a break when it needs it. Just be disciplined enough to get back to work after a five or 10 minute break.

Getting back to work after a break may require the development of new habits. Consider it a challenge worth taking on. You’ll benefit from this control for years to come.

Consider checking out the video post: How to Use Pomodoro Technique. This is how it works. Set a timer for 25 minutes for focused work time on one specific task, no other. Ignore all distractions. After the 25 minutes work session ends, set another five minute time. This is your break time. Feed the dog, straighten your sock drawer, or whatever you want in those five minustes.

After your break timer goes off set your timer for another 25 minutes and get back to work. This cycle is repeated multiple times until you attend to your tasks.

Make a timer your work partner for maximum focus.


Tip #4: Ask an Experienced Student

If someone has taken the class before, they understand what you’re trying to learn. They might even know how difficult the content is. Think about who you might be able to reach out to for support. Consider this the “Phone a Mentor” strategy. Have the courage to reach out and ask. YOu have nothing to lose.

If you reach out to another classmate, they may have the same misunderstandings you do and if you go to them for help you’re just reinforcing what not to do. When you tap into the resources of experienced students, students you know have already experienced what you have in a specific class, you increase the chance that they know the material. So, the support they can provide will be very helpful.

Build relationships to support your continual improvement.

#5: Make online Flashcards or a Study Guide

If you know you have a test coming up and you have the time making a study guide on technology may be a good idea. But, you have to make sure that you’ll be able to use your technology throughout the day in order to study. This is an always true for all students. Not all schools allow you to have your cell phones.

So you may want to make flashcards Or a mind map that you can study from each day before the test. The act of writing down the information on the flash card or a mind map or other visual will help the information given to your brain better then if you didn’t create those flashcards or visual tool.

Actively recreating information helps move information to your long-term memory.

Bonus study tip

Consider supporting your study sessions with classical music.

When you listen to instrumental music – music with our lyrics – you allow your brain to continue moving forward while in a task. Many people have claimed to maintain the state of ‘flow’ when listening to one song on repeat for hours at a time.

Music supports emotional and cognitive development

Malachi’s 5 Study Tips for 8th Graders

Bonus Resources







What is the 5 Minute Study Strategy?

5 minute study strategy

The 5 Minute Study Strategy

The 5 Minute Study Strategy is a simple process that will help you memorize more information in less time.

One thing you must know, is that forgetting the best way we develop our memory muscle. When you cram for tests you really aren’t retaining any information. What you “cram” into your head by studying the night before a test may be in your head for 24 hours, but, that information is housed in your short-term memory.

Info you cram into your head falls out of your head before it has a chance to live in your long term memory.

Repetition Over Time is Key

This is why you need to accept that studying for the sake of memorization requires the repetition over a wide time frame. You have to be willing to apply the 5 Minute Study Strategy over the course of days and weeks.

If you want maximize the impact of this study method, you have to study the same information over time. Studying the information nightly, not just the night before a test.

Your brain needs to struggle to pull information from its memory in order to grow its memory muscle.

Getting Started with the 5 Minute Study Strategy

(The following process is specific to vocabulary, but it can be modified to be used with other content to areas.)

  • Create vocabulary flash cards for each vocabulary word.
  • Compete a quadrant chart for the unit of words being studied.
  • Each night engage in the 5MSS, multiple times if needed.

Materials needed:

  • Flash cards (or other information needing to be memorized)
  • A timer (click here to access one online)
  • Paper
  • Pencil

Process of the 5MSS

  • Set the timer for 3 minutes.
  • During the 3 minutes you Study with laser-like focus trying to memorize a predetermined amount of information.
  • When the timer sounds, put away your flash cards and take out your paper and pencil.

Set the timer for two more minutes.

  • During these two minutes, your goal is to write as much of the information you can remember of the information you tried to memorize in the previous three minutes.
  • When the second timer sounds, check the accuracy of your recall against the information in his flash cards.
  • Repeat this process multiple times in one sitting. Then REPEAT THIS PROCESS EVERY DAY with the same information.

When you do this, you allow your memory muscle to struggle just enough to grow over time.