Should I Guess on the ACT?
Brave men and women have often struggled with the tough questions, like:
“Will I ever fall in love?”
“What is my purpose?”
“Is it politically correct to name my twins Mitt and Barack?”
I am in no way going to attempt to answer these. This is an ACT prep website.
If you’re struggling with the question “Should I guess on the ACT?” though, I can actually help.
The Answer and the Reason Behind It
The answer is YES. When you know that you don’t know the answer, you should guess and guess with passion. The reason for this is that the ACT penalizes you the same for unanswered questions as it does for incorrectly answered questions.
Let me make that a little more clear for you: if you choose the wrong answer, it doesn’t hurt you any more than if you had left that question unanswered.
So let’s just break this down in case you miss how great this concept is. If you guess, you have a chance to get the right answer and, therefore, points. If you freak out and leave blank the questions you just don’t know how to answer, then you will lose points just the same as if you had answered wrong, but you never have a chance to gain points.
Because this is such an effective way to get points, the ACT test makers actually highlight this concept in first pages of the test booklet. Remember their words: “It is to your advantage to answer every question.”
How to Guess on the ACT
It’s not enough to know that you should guess on the ACT; you should know how to guess on the ACT. So go ahead, ask me–please. I have a really great answer! I can answer it in one word! Please, ask me, “David, how should I guess on the ACT?”
OK, I’ll tell you: Intelligently.
Boom. Let’s unpack that loaded adverb.
You can use random guessing to get some free points on the test, but you’ll get more points if you have a method to your guessing. Let’s look at a few.
- Process of Elimination - Try to eliminate two answers which you know are wrong. You raise you odds of getting the correct answer from 1/4 to 1/2. It’s the power of fractions.
- Go With Your Gut - Maybe you have absolutely no idea what an answer is. You can’t eliminate any answers, but for some reason, one just looks correct. Go for it. You have nothing to lose and nothing else to go on, so trust your gut. You’ll be surprised how often it leads you to the right answer.
- Guessing the Same Letter Throughout - When you do have to just randomly bubble in an answer, then be consistent with which letter you choose. This also increases your chances of getting some of the answers right. I once took a practice math test, and I didn’t watch the clock. I found myself with two minutes on the clock and tons of questions unanswered, but I knew this method. I filled in “C” all the way down eleven questions. (When in doubt, “C” your way out.) I got four of them right. Had I bubbled randomly, I might have missed them all. However, I knew that at least one of the answers had to be “C.” There are methods to luck.
Remember, guessing is not the preferred way to go through the test. It is, though, a good way to gain points you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise when you’re stumped.
Be sure to visit the ACT FAQ page for the rest of you information needs.