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Chris Lele

[Video Post] Guessing on the SAT

One of the first things people learn about the SAT is that you get penalized for guessing. While this is true, it ignores a very important fact: guessing only works against you if you have absolutely no idea what the answer is. As long as you can eliminate at least one answer choice, guessing works—albeit slightly—in your favor. And the more answers you can eliminate, the more guessing will work in your favor. On the other hand, not guessing on questions in which you can clearly eliminate a few answers can make a 50-60 point difference on your final score.

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Another important fact: there are very few questions in which you are truly clueless on. The reason I mention this is many students refuse to guess, claiming that they have no idea. When I prod them, they tell me that there is no way a few answer choices could possibly be correct. Yet when they say they have no idea, they mean they have no idea what the answer is. So think of the SAT not as getting the right answer, but eliminating the wrong ones.

Finally, many students claim that, when guessing between two answer choices, they always choose the wrong one. In reality, students tend to be very selective in their memories, remembering when they guess incorrectly, not when they guess correctly. So always guess if you can narrow it down to two answer choices.


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About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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