When Guessing On The SAT Is Your Best Option

guessing on the satIt can be a difficult thing to admit, but it is impossible to know every answer on the SAT. If anyone knew every answer, there’s a good chance that their brain would become the subject of a scientific study someday.

While getting every answer correct would be quite the feat, what matters is racking up as many raw points as you can. You have probably heard teachers or other students say that it is best to leave an answer blank on the SAT than take a guess and get it wrong. They say this because the following are true:

  • One point is added for each correct answer
  • ¼ point is subtracted for each incorrect answers
  • No points or subtracted when an answer is left blank

Leaving an answer blank can be a difficult decision to make because getting it right means getting a point. You may ask yourself, “What if I get it right?” If you get it right, you will increase your score. If you get it wrong, you lose ¼ of a point.

Try Your Luck

If you want to rack up as many raw score points as you can, it is better to not answer the question. While this adheres to the advice of your teacher or friend, there is much more to it than that. If your intuition tells you not to answer a question, don’t answer it. If your intuition tells you to run with the guess, then here are two strategies that are commonly used:

  • The Standard Guess Strategy – If you can eliminate at least one of the possible answer choices, you can make a random guess from the other four. If you are unable to eliminate at least one of the choices, the question should be left blank. The reason why guessing may be best is because leaving 10 questions blank means the raw score for those 10 questions will be 0.
  • Veritas Prep Method – Eliminate two answer choices and use as little bias as possible when choosing from the remaining choices. If you are not able to eliminate two incorrect choices, the question should be left blank.

If you are more comfortable eliminating three incorrect answer choices so you only have to guess between two, you do increase the odds of getting the question right. It is up to your intuition and individual comfort level as to how many answers you eliminate before going for the guess.

Just keep in mind that guessing the wrong answer can hurt you more than leaving it blank. However, what you decide to do also depends on how many questions you have left blank. Leaving too many blank can have its consequences.

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