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Dear Mitch,

Well, today is the big test, the PSAT, and I did try to study, but I honesty think I'm not ready because every time I try a new problem I get it wrong. Is there any hope?

Oh, and to top it all off, I just discovered your site last week after a bunch of people were talking about it on a movie line near your old house, and so I don't know how many kids have been practicing your tricks all along.

Anyway, it's early here today and I still have a couple of hours before the test. Any thoughts or advice?


Marc G.

Sag Harbor, NY


Dear Marc,

You say you have two hours left? Then consider it an exercise to practice for the SAT in a few months. After all, that's how the whole PSAT got started.

Other than that, I guess a quick piece of advice that's worth reminding people before they take the test is this: Remember that for all the multiple choice questions, the correct answer is given to you. The only thing is, of course, so are a bunch of wrong answers. So the thing to do, when you're taking the test and have one of those blank-out moments, is to take advantage of the fact that you are NOT expected to be able to come up with most of the answers ON YOUR OWN FROM SCRATCH; no, you only need to pick out the correct one from the bunch of choices. So try them.

One at a time, try plugging the answers back into the question-- and only one will work!

And remember, you can do it if you want.

Hope this helps,.