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Test Prep – Learning How to Guess

Have you ever made a guess and truly not known whether your choice was right or wrong? There is no worse feeling than having this uncertainty. When I worked in Engineering, I had an unexpected post meeting review of the latest developments in one of our data processing algorithms. The pioneer of the approach was explaining in detail his methods and even outlining some of the code. It was when I asked him about how he decided on the numerical value of a constant he told me it was a SWAG. “A SWAG I responded?” He answered me, “Yes, a scientific wild-ass guess.” I was shocked, but what I learned is that while engineers are well known to be great at math, even they make guesses from time to time.

You should never simply guess the answer on a standardized test choosing among the letter options. If you can in any way reduce the answer space down to fewer options than you started with in many ways you are making a SWAG. If you have ever seen the show Let’s Make a Deal then you know it’s better to be the second person because choosing the grand prize behind two doors rather than the first person choosing the grand prize behind 3 doors. In almost every standardized question there is a way to reduce the number of answers. In the same way if you are choosing between two answers instead of four then your probability of getting the correct answer increases significantly.

The choice to make an educated guess on a standardized test is one of the test-taking strategies taught as part of every SAT/ACT Test Prep Package. However, the distinction here is that students learn when to guess and how to guess to more often select the correct answer.

Sign up for one of my SAT/ACT Prep Packages and learn helpful strategies. Just click on the Student Resources tab and select College Prep – SAT/ACT and choose the package that works best for you.

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