The Guessing Game
Make Educated Guesses. Never do random guessing. Sometimes referred to as Christmas Treeing. Educated guesses, i.e., you can eliminate one or more choices, are rewarded! This is a basic strategy that students sometimes forget when they are frustrated by the test. Don’t let it happen to you.
Eliminate Unusual Answers. Sometimes there are oddball answers that don’t look like any of the others. Maybe only one is negative or is a fraction. Eliminate that one and guess at the rest.
Go for Common Elements. This technique is the corollary of the previous one. It is much more helpful on the ACT than the SAT. Sometimes math answers have the same digits or unknowns in varying positions. Find a pattern and pick the answer that has the most common pattern. For example, if the answers are all fractions and three of them have an “x” in the denominator and four have a y in the numerator, the right answer will probably have an “x” in the denominator and a “y” in the numerator.
Use the Diagrams. Unless otherwise indicated, the diagrams on the SAT but not the ACT are drawn to scale. You can estimate correct answers by using line lengths, angle sizes, etc. Also use this technique to make sure any calculated answer is consistent with the information in the diagram.
Eliminate the obvious or quick answer on late (or difficult) questions. If the obvious answer is correct, it will be an easy question and appear earlier in the section. For example, if you see a weighted average question late in the test, find the “knee-jerk response” that most students will choose, eliminate it and guess at the rest if you can’t do the calculation.
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