When to Skip a Question on the ACT / SAT

There are a few times when you can skip a question on the SAT / ACT.

Flickr user Dean McCoy

This may seem like odd advice. Why would you ever skip a question? Especially on a test as important as the ACT / SAT? Well, if done correctly, skipping questions can really be a lifesaver in the long run.

When to Skip a Question

Time is a very precious commodity on the ACT and SAT. Depending on the test and section, you could have as little as 30 seconds per question! That’s not a lot, and so wasting time on a question that stumps you or trips you up can really hold you back. So instead of spending your precious seconds staring at the paper trying to work out the answer, skip it. Move on. There are other questions that need your answers.

Let’s put it this way: If you spend all your time trying to puzzle out one answer, you could end up not finishing a chunk of the test—which is definitely worse. One vs. ten? Skip it.

Go Back and Bubble-in an Answer

Now skipping a question does NOT mean you should leave it blank. Instead, mark the question you’ve skipped and come back to it once you’ve completed the rest of the section. If you have spare time, you can try to deduce the right answer, but if not guessing is a legitimate strategy. There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT and revamped SAT—they won’t take away points for a wrong answer, they simply won’t award you any points. So never, ever leave a question bubble blank.

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