SAT Test Preparation: How to Make Educated Guesses on College Entrance Exams

So, on multiple choice tests, the right answer is always there. The obvious problem is you may not always know what that correct answer is.  But in some cases, it’s worth taking an educated guess, especially when you can limit your answer choices. Below are a few things you should know that will help you make educated guesses on the SAT and ACT.

SAT

  • On the SAT, there are penalties for wrong answers, so avoid random guessing (that is, guessing when you’re completely clueless as to what the correct answer is).
  • Educated guessing, however, is a good option. You only lose ¼ of a point of raw score for wrong answers, but you earn one full point for each right answer. So on the SAT, it’s statistically advantageous to make an educated guess if you can eliminate 1 or 2 (preferably) answers.
  • If you’re investing time on a question, it’s worth taking a risk and making an educated guess. Don’t waste time working on a problem and then not make your best guess.

ACT

  • On the ACT, there are no penalties for guessing/wrong answers, so never leave answers blank!
  • Each answer choice (A, B, C, D etc.) shows up about 20-25% of the time as the correct answer; it’s best to be consistent and designate one letter as your guessing answer.
  • As a strategy for picking your optimal guessing answer (because each answer choice does show up roughly 20-25% of the time), look at your scantron’s bubbled-in answers and choose the letter that appears the least.

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Of course, you never want guessing to be your first option. It’s always best to go into a test like the SAT and ACT as prepared as possible, equipped with strategies to help you solve problems and answer as many questions correctly as possible. But there are always those instances where we encounter tough questions that we just can’t figure out, and wasting time trying to work through them usually isn’t worth it. So in some cases, it’s certainly worth taking your best educated guess.

*For a laugh and how NOT to guess, check out this link: http://i.imgur.com/LZBup.jpg

If you enjoyed these suggestions, and for help being prepared with all the vocabulary you’ll need-so you don’t have to guess-CHECK OUT VOCAB VIDEOS!

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