When it's okay to skip that SAT/ACT question!


A key to scoring to your potential is to know when to move on! If an answer doesn’t jump out at you and you begin to hear the imaginary “tick/tock” then you should do one of the following:

  1. Pick an answer and put a note on your test booklet so that you remember to return to the question after you have answered all the other questions. You do this when you have invested time in the question. Meaning, you have spent 30 seconds (or more) analyzing the question. Narrow down the choices to three (usually two out of the five answer choices are ridiculous and can be eliminated immediately) and then make an educated guess. You do not want to completely skip the question because you have already invested time and brain cells!
  2. Completely skip the question and come back to it later (once again putting a note on the test booklet to remind you). Skip when you see that the question is so difficult that you will not be able to make an educated guess without spending an enormous amount of time on the question. For example, if you glance at the last question on the sentence completion page and see that you do not know any of the vocabulary then don’t invest time – just skip!

Not investing time and simply skipping is a great strategy for the reading passages. Often, the answer to a skipped question will become clear as you answer other questions. Go back and answer skipped questions after you have finished the other questions in the passage or you have finished the section. For example, reading questions that require you to look at line passages for every answer choice given should be skipped and answered at the end of the reading. Same goes for “All of the following… EXCEPT” questions. These are time intensive questions that will take less time if all other questions are answered first.

Frustration and anxiety arise when you come to a tough question you cannot answer. And, frustration and anxiety can destroy any test-taker. Therefore be SMART – make an educated guess or simply SKIP the question – and move on. As you take the test the brain develops a natural rhythm and what seemed impossible a few minutes ago might not be so impossible now. Nobody is watching you take the test- answer the questions in the order you want to answer them! Don’t get caught up on a single question. Come back to it!

Did you know that the Skip to My Lou song is really a dance? That is the goal for taking this test; dance your way through the test with confidence and a sure foot . So, skip to my Lou, my darling!

Weekly Word

Trite (adj): Cliché; lacking originality or freshness.

Trite Terry never had an original thought or idea. He always just repeated whatever cliché fit into the situation.

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