Myth: You Should NEVER Guess on the SAT

Student thinking and studying for the SAT, trying to earn their highest SAT score

Flickr user Paul Townsend

You may have heard to “never guess on the SAT,” especially from your parents or older friends or relatives. However, that is actually not true (anymore)! Here’s a rundown of what that means for you and why guessing may actually help earn you the highest SAT score:

No Points Are Deducted for Wrong Answers

In the past, if you guessed on the SAT, and guessed incorrectly, you may have actually had points deducted from your overall score. However, changes in recent years means points won’t be deducted for wrong answers.

Therefore, you should never leave a question blank on either the SAT. You only have something to gain by making a guess!

How To Guess on the SAT

There are a few ways to guess on the SAT and how you approach a question you don’t know can actually depend on how much time you have left for the section. Here are steps to take and few techniques to use if you find yourself scratching your head:

Skip It And Come Back To It Later

The first step to guessing on a question you don’t know the answer to on either exam is to skip it and come back to it after you’ve completed the section. Time management absolutely matters and you don’t want to spend too much time on one question while you have an entire section to complete. If you practiced enough before the real deal and manage your time properly, you should have time to return to it.

Narrow it Down

Once you’ve completed the section you’re currently on, you can go back to the questions you’ve skipped. To guess, start by narrowing it down. Cross out the answers that simply don’t make sense or you know to be wrong and make an educated guess based on what’s left. You may even find you know the actual answer once you’ve crossed out the incorrect ones.

Running Out Of Time? Write Down Anything

If you have absolutely no idea what the answer can be or you’re running out of time for the section, it’s better to put down anything than nothing. However, it’s best to try to make an educated guess before you jump to this solution. This should be a last ditch effort.

Review Your Answers

Time management is essential when it comes to the SAT, and you should always have time to return and review your answers after you complete a section. This will ensure you have enough time to make educated guesses on the questions you weren’t sure about as well as time to correct any mistakes. You may even find you know the answer to a stumper when you go to review your exam!

Guessing May Help You Achieve Your Highest SAT Score

While older generations were penalized for making guesses on their standardized tests, that is simply not the case anymore. It is entirely beneficial for you to make guesses and you should never leave a question blank when taking these exams.

Check out how your SAT score affects your acceptance odds with College Raptor!

Hilary Cairns

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