Every year thousands of ninth and tenth graders take the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test (PSAT). The PSAT serves two main purposes: to help practice for the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT), an exam many schools require as part of their admissions processes, and to qualify high scoring students for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship program. There are basic elements diligent students can follow for successful PSAT preparation.

Get to know the PSAT itself. The exam tests three basic areas: critical reading, math and writing. Study the question types found in each area. Also, familiarize yourself with the PSAT's directions to save you valuable time on test day.

Take advantage of sample PSAT questions and other free resources found online. Use practice exams or attempt practice questions under ideal test conditions, if possible.

Work on areas that you see need improvement. Ask a teacher for assistance, if necessary. Or, team up with a study buddy. Finding a partner with a different skill set can provide a beneficial study relationship for you both.

Ask any individuals you know who have already completed the PSAT about his test day experience. You can learn a few good tips from your fellow students.

Remember to maintain a healthy peace of mind. Concepts tested on the PSAT are within the reach of any college bound student. So, there is no need to panic!