Thoughts On Skipping Questions

Skipping Questions on the ACT

Since you're scored on the number of correct answers. Do not skip any questions on the ACT.

Skipping Questions on the SAT

“There is no penalty for skipping questions.” That statement is often repeated, but let’s look at that statement a bit closer.

Sometimes students say, “There’s no penalty for skipping questions? Great, I’ll just answer five questions that I’m absolutely sure I’ll get right. That way, I’ll get a 100%! True, you’ll get 100% of the questions you answered correct (maybe), but this is not a percentage-based test. This is the SAT. Remember how the scoring goes—you got five right times 1 point each. You got 5 points only. That’s not enough to cut it. You need to answer more questions.

It certainly is true to say there’s no penalty for skipping questions, but only mostly true. There is no point deduction for skipping a question as in the case of incorrect answers—you lose no points. However, you do lose the opportunity to gain one point. This loss hurts. The SAT scoring system essentially asks you to gamble saying, “Okay, you’re unsure about answering this one or not, right? Do you really want to risk losing a quarter of a point? But, if you go for it and get it, you just might win one whole point—you could lose four and still break even! Do you wanna role the dice?”

So where does this bring us? To two final guessing thoughts:

  • Skip only a few (no more than 5 per section).
  • If you skip any, skip the tougher ones (near the end of the section).
  • Back to the short answer: if you can eliminate at least one choice, then guess.

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