Should you skip questions on the SAT?

Let's get right to it.

The SAT awards one point for every right answer, and deducts 1/4 point for each wrong answer. There's no deduction for questions that are skipped. So naturally, there's a great deal of speculation about whether guessing is ever a good idea.

For the answer, we're going straight to the expert, Philip Keller. Author of The New Math SAT Game Plan: For 2016 and Beyond!

In his book, Keller explains that the answer to when to guess, and when not to guess, should be based on your current baseline score and your target SAT score.

Skipping isn't admitting defeat

While skipping a question on the SAT may feel like your admitting defeat - effectively giving up on the possibility of getting a perfect score, you should understand that your are better off giving up on the possibility of perfection in order to achieve something that's merely very good.

That said, if you are actually trying to get an 800, you cannot afford to skip any questions. But things grow more lax if your targeting a section score of between 600-750. You can skip questions and more importantly slow down your test taking..

Skipping is a tactical choice

Most SAT test takers should deliberately work slower when finishing their test. The reason is that everyone makes more mistakes when they rush, and on the SAT mistakes are costly. Your score will be higher if you leave the hard problems blank and get 100% of the problems you can do correct.

That means you can score well above a 700, by intentionally skipping one question per section as long as you get everything else right.

So don't be shy to skip a question. Skipping may prove to be a tactic decision that pushes your SAT score to the next level.


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