Can Skipping Questions Improve SAT Scores?

Oh, the infamous SAT. How on earth do people grade this thing? 450? Sure that’s average for some kids, but what’s the difference between a 450 and a 460 when it comes to correct answers? How can I drudge through four and a half hours and still do well?

Let’s start by getting to know this test. The SAT is scored on a 200-800 point scale. Combined Math, Writing, and Reading scores equal a perfect 2400. These scores are tabulated using a raw score conversion chart.

Now that we’ve sifted through the obvious, let’s talk about a more important detail: you get 1 point for every question you get right and a ?? point deduction for every question you get wrong. Here’s the weird part; you will get NO points off for questions you skip.

So now you may be wondering, “Well how do I take advantage of this?”

Here’s how. Sentence Completions, Math, and Grammar are ordered according to difficulty. For example: in a ten question Sentence Completion section the first 2-3 questions will be easy, the middle 4 questions will be medium difficulty, and the last few will be hard. If you know that on average you do not answer difficult level questions correctly, where should you focus your energies? That’s right. Economize on your strengths. Students who spend more time on questions they are likely to answer correctly do better on the test.

Here’s even better news. Focusing on one’s strengths can also shorten the testing experience. If you skipped the last two questions of a section because of their difficulty, you are bettering your pace, and using time appropriately. Statistics show that difficult questions are answered roughly 10% of the time, with students spending nearly double the amount of time allotted to answer these questions.

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The application of this method should vary according to a student’s strengths. If, for example, a student is better in math than verbal, they should answer more questions in the math sections and skip more in verbal sections. This requires diagnostic and sample testing to truly ascertain these strengths. Testing Centers such as Five Points Learning in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn offer diagnostic and sample testing through SAT Test Prep courses. By starting with this simple procedure, our SAT tutors can then help students focus on their weaknesses and make the most of their intellectual strengths. Throughout all standardized test taking, one truth remains constant: we must think like test takers and test makers in order to excel.