It might surprise you to learn that studying for the PSAT is one of the single smartest things you can do for your college application process. Why? Because it’s the one aspect of the process with virtually no downside. The PSAT cannot hurt you, but it definitely can help you. For students who struggle with standardized tests, the PSAT is a zero-pressure, low-stakes environment where they can practice time management and test-taking skills. On the other hand, for students who already feel comfortable with standardized tests, the PSAT is the perfect test on which to learn to apply the more advanced methods that they’ll need to conquer the SAT.
The PSAT is also the gateway to a number of prestigious college scholarships, most notably the National Merit Scholarship, which selects its semifinalists entirely on the basis of PSAT scores. Furthermore, while many students learn about these opportunities once it's too late, a high score on the PSAT can qualify students to receive scholarships from multiple sources, such as corporations and foundations, and even directly from colleges.
Because it's the only test that precisely simulates the SAT test day atmosphere, the PSAT is by far the best gauge of your comfort level with standardized tests, and the SAT in particular. Both tests focus on the same content: critical reading, math problem solving, and writing. Accordingly, our PSAT program provides a "warm up" for the SAT, while focusing on the particular challenges of the PSAT. By preparing students for the PSAT in a structured way, Cambridge Coaching PSAT tutors give their students a distinct advantage when the SAT rolls around in their junior years.
Instead of constructing a one-size-fits-all curriculum, we've created a highly structured yet flexible PSAT program that offers everything you need to succeed on test day. Our program comprises four elements:
- Comprehensive coverage of all content covered on the PSAT
- Practice drilling guided by our SAT software
- Weekly verbal regimen (including vocab building, essay writing, & regular reading)
- Proctored practice tests using official tests from the College Board.
How do we tailor all of this to make it unique to each student? Well, before you even meet with your tutor, we assess your strengths and weaknesses with a diagnostic SAT exam. Then, we’ll input these first results into our adaptive SAT software: this will be your baseline. Once you have a baseline, you’ll be ready to start practicing on your own with the help of our software. Rather than rolling out a generic program, your tutor will know exactly what content you need to cover in session, what homework will be most useful for you, and the most appropriate times for practice tests. Add our verbal gameplan into this program, and you have the most highly customized approach to the PSAT available anywhere. We like to think that our PSAT and SAT tutors are the smartest test preparation professionals out there. Now, we’ve supercharged their diagnostic skills with the best software, too.
Please feel free to download this overview of our program that describes our comprehensive approach to the PSAT. While each program is tailored to the individual student, this document provides a detailed look at our unique approach. By the time you’ve finished working with us, you’ll not only know how to beat the passage-based reading or quadratic function questions, you might even enjoy them.
Here’s what you get when your child studies for the PSAT with Cambridge Coaching:
Computer-Adaptive SAT Software
Our SAT software includes lots of features that streamline studying for the PSAT, and makes tracking progress really easy. This computer-adaptive software features over 3,000 questions, and allows our tutors to help you design a personalized study schedule, monitor homework completion in real time, analyze your performance, and track your progress to your target score. Furthermore, because your tutor will be able to see all of your homework before the session, you’ll only review the most important questions when you meet, which saves you valuable time. It’s a remarkable all-in-one solution that helps tutor and student align and ensures that you’re always working in the most efficient way. Thanks to our ability to track every aspect of the tutoring experience, our tutoring approach is regularly adjusted based on a growing base of knowledge about your strengths and weaknesses.
Our programs are intensive, but we have found that they actually minimize the stress of taking the SAT. During the course of a Comprehensive Package, our students see between 1400 and 1600 questions, take 6 to 10 practice exams, and study between 60 and 90 hours. We make sure that our students have raised their scores and maintained them before taking the official PSAT. It isn't a coincidence that our students consistently achieve outstanding results.
For most students, the PSAT is their first experience of the college process. This intimidating process can be significantly demystified by a cool, supremely qualified tutor. The experience of studying for the PSAT is critically important because it gives students their groundwork for the SAT. Cambridge Coaching PSAT tutors understand the foundational importance of the study process for their students. They are experts at managing high school students' attention spans, moods, needs, schedules—and sense of cool. They emphasize a highly structured and systematic study process as the best path to a higher score—not just on the PSAT, but on all the other tests down the road.
The Best Compensated Tutors
Unlike other companies, we place a heavy emphasis on tutors' pay and their professional development as teachers. As far as we are aware, our tutors earn the highest compensation—and the greatest share of company revenue—of any tutors in the industry. Although it seems like common sense that tutors are the most important part of a tutoring organization, most companies shortchange their tutors in order to reap greater profits. We consider our tutors to be our most important investment, and we have found that caring about our tutors allows us to hire and retain the very best.
National companies develop general curricula aimed at a broad population, the so called "average students." They do not tailor their curricula based on your child’s needs because customization is expensive and time-consuming. We believe that a tailored program is a basic prerequisite for any effective tutoring relationship, particularly for high school students navigating the PSAT. We build each tutoring relationship around each unique student. Before your child even meets with his/her tutor, he/she will take an official exam and based on the results, your tutor will create a customized syllabus
Official Practice Material
Our primary materials consist of the official exams released by the College Board (the company that writes the exam). Unlike other companies who write their own "simulated questions," our materials prepare you for what you will see on test day. We supplement official material with an evolving list of the secondary sources that we view to be the best means of mastering particular methodologies. Because we are not invested in selling proprietary materials, we prefer to cherry-pick the best materials from as many sources as possible.
A Holistic Approach
Because we know that the PSAT is only one small component of your child’s life, we think about all aspects of our students’ academic lives. In everything we do, we think about how we can help the student grow and develop as an individual, finding inspiration in learning and intellectual development. At this crucial point in high school, this might mean helping with coursework to catalyze a high score, or helping to organize extracurriculars and community activities into a more balanced study schedule. Our tutors are not only PSAT experts, but also mentors who connect all the dots, so that their students can reach their best scores in the context of the bigger picture. For PSAT students, we typically offer a free college consultation to begin thinking about the college process as a whole. For more information on our application coaching services, please visit our college page.