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Great News! Guessing on the NEW SAT (2016) is not penalized.

Guessing on the old SAT [historical information]

Information provided by

There is no such thing as a guessing penalty on the SAT. There is, however, a wrong answer penalty. The wrong answer penalty is designed so that students who guess randomly won't earn extra points for the effort.

Here's how the wrong answer penalty works:

* You get 1 point for every correct answer
* You get a fraction of a point taken off for every incorrect answer (excepting Grid-ins)

Type of Answer Correct Answer Left Blank

Wrong Answer

Wrong Answer on QC Wrong Answer on Grid-in
Raw points 1 point 0 points -1/4 point -1/3 point 0 points

As you can see, you get the same number of points for any correct answer (1 point), however, the amount subtracted from your score for a wrong answer varies according to question type. You get a 1/4 point off for most question types. So:

Strategy Tip: You should never guess randomly on the SAT. However, if you can rule out at least one answer choice on a question you don't know, it is worth it to guess.

The more wrong answer choices you eliminate, the more likely it is that you will beat the wrong answer penalty and get a higher score. Also: since there is no wrong answer choice penalty for Grid-ins, guess to your heart's content on that question type.


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