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Just wanted to revive this thread for anyone needing it in the next few days. :)

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We went to a STobaugh conference on the SAT recently, and he was very clear that you should not guess on the SAT -- you lose 1.25 points instead of 1.00 points.


e.g. say there are 200 possible points

100 right & 100 blank = score of 100

100 right & 100 wrong = score of 75


even if half your guesses were correct,

150 right + 50 wrong = score of 87.50



It sounds like the PSAT is the same way?


Edited by Julie in MN
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You loose .25 for wrong answers on the SAT and PSAT. You get 1 point for correct answers. If you can narrow it down to 2 choices educated guessing does pay off statistically.


If you cannot narrow the guess then it is not wise to guess.


Guessing on the ACT is a definite plus. You should bubble in every single space, even if you have not read the questions.

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The error is that the quarter of fifty should have been subtracted from the 150 right, not the old 100 right. So:


150 right - 0.25(50 wrong) = 137.5 (rounded up) = 138


Definately worth guessing.

The PSAT booklet says that if you can eliminate one answer, you should guess.


My son and I thought about this and we think perhaps statistically you would come out even if you guessed every time because you have a one in five chance of getting it right. That means one in every five guessed questions gives you a point and the others together give you negative one point. That leaves you even. This means that if you can narrow it down at all, even by one, statistically (in other words - if you aren't unlucky), you will come out ahead if you guess.



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Aack, sorry about my bad math!


My error was that totally random guesses would have a probability of being 20% correct (if there are 5 multiple choices), rather than 50% correct.




120 right + 80 wrong = score of 100




It doesn't look like totally random guesses will help much. But I guess there could be a small benefit to guessing if you are sure some of the answers are wrong. The biggest loss might be time spent on these guesses?


Thanks for that, Nan.

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