All You Need To Know About SAT: Part 12

Written by: Helen Donohoe


***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.

In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***


With the exception of the essay and a few questions in the math section, SAT is a multiple choice exam. The Ontario Curriculum (and the curriculum in many other parts of Canada too) focuses on many types of responses, not just multiple choice so Canadian students really have to pay attention to strategies to improve their chances of getting the right – and only – answer when it comes to multiple choice, as they do not always get a much chance to practise in school.

Every question has five answer choices, A/B/C/D/E. Taking a guess at the right answer is really like picking numbers on Lotto 649 – what are your chances of picking the right answer out of five on every question to win the jackpot? Infinitesimal! Don’t even think about it. Well-prepared students never have to resort to guessing.

It is often possible to identify an “outlier” – one of the five answer choices that is very clearly not the right answer. Now you’re down to four. If there is no outlier, try to eliminate two of the possible five answers as you see fit. If you change your mind, you can always include them again. Once you’re down to three possible answers the task becomes more manageable and you have a better chance of making a “bestimate” (your best estimate.)

Next week we’ll look at very specific strategies for the sentence completion sections.

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