frequently asked questions

When to Guess vs. When to Omit on the SAT

The rule on when to guess is simple: If you can eliminate at least one answer choice as definitely wrong, then you should guess. If you cannot eliminate at least one answer choice, then you should just omit the question.

The reason for this rule is that a correct answer on the SAT counts as (+1), an incorrect answer counts as (-1/4), and omitting a question is just a (0).

When students ask me, “How many is it OK to omit?” my answer is “Omit as few questions as possible.” Omitting questions doesn’t help you; you should only omit questions when you can’t narrow a question down. I am hoping to get students to a point where they can almost always eliminate at least one answer choice.

Should a student take the SAT or ACT?

Nearly every school in the country accepts either SAT or ACT scores. It is difficult to predict which test a student will score higher on. Therefore, every student should take both the SAT and ACT at least one time to see which one they perform better on.

There is a scale that compares SAT and ACT scores. For example, a 24 on the ACT is approximately a 1650 on the SAT. Once the student determines which test he or she scored better on, the student should put in two months of preparation studying for that test and then take it again.

When it comes time to apply for colleges, a student does not need to report both their SAT and ACT scores. They need only to report the scores of the test they did better on.

Can a senior take the November or December SAT and still use the scores to apply for college this year?

YES! If a current senior decides they need to take the SAT again, he or she can still take the November or December SAT. A note may need to be included in that student’s application indicating that the student is taking the SAT again.


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