The Edge Prep Blog
No, there is no longer a guessing penalty on the SAT.
In the old days, students taking the SAT incurred a "guessing penalty." If you got a problem wrong, 1/4 of a point would be deducted for each incorrect answer. Painful, huh? This added an element of strategy and gamemanship to the test, but this is no longer a feature of the test. The SAT has gotten soft in its old age.
If your parents are sharing strategies they honed to master the guessing penalty, politely inform them that the SAT no longer has a guessing penalty. This kind of old people rambling will do you no good. There is probably other wisdom your folks can share, this just isn't it.
In conclusion: you should expect to guess on the SAT. Don't leave those bubbles blank!
Don't believe us? OK, we checked with the official sources to make sure. Here is the official word from the College Board itself.
No Penalty for Guessing
On the SAT, you simply earn points for the questions you answer correctly. So go ahead and give your best answer to every question—there’s no advantage to leaving them blank.
-Our friends at Kaplan provide guessing tips.
-Princeton Review also provided a nifty overview of the test changes after the latest version of the SAT was released.
The SAT tests algebra, but it may not look like how you learned it in school.
New students and parents will often ask us about what kind of math is tested on the SAT. Fortunately there is no high-level calculus and fewer brain teasers than in the past. However, students may have to apply math skills they've learned in a different way. You're being tested on the math you learned in high school, but you may not quite realize it.
Have a look at the question below. This is a medium level difficulty question from an actual SAT practice test. (SAT Practice test 3, section 4, problem 8) This section does not allow calculators, so try this one without a calculator.
The average number of students per classroom at Central High School from 2000 to 2010 can be modeled by the equation y = 0.56x + 27.2, where x represents the number of years since 2000, and y represents the average number of students per classroom.
Which of the following best describes the meaning of the number 0.56 in the equation?
A) The total number of students at the school in 2000
B) The average number of students per classroom in 2000
C) The estimated increase in the average number of students per classroom each year
D) The estimated difference between the average number of students per classroom in 2010 and in 2000
This is one of the SAT problems beginning students frequently miss, but it's not because it involves any complex calculations. This question tests whether a student can apply the y=mx+b formula in another context. The math in this problem is not complex, but having the ability to step back and utilize what you've learned in high school algebra may be an unfamiliar sensation.
The correct answer is C. If you have difficulty visualizing this problem, try drawing a line using y=mx+b. It should look something like this:
This is the kind of problem students will need to get right if they plan to take a statistics course in the future. Statistics courses are often requirements for business and economics majors. Students majoring in other social sciences should seriously consider taking statistics if they hope to be competitive for graduate school.
If this explanation wasn't enough for you, here are a few other explanations you can refer to:
1. MathCabin explanation (video)
3. Here is the official explanation. Sometimes these explanations are clear, sometimes they are not.
Get to know University and College Admissions Officers
We're introducing a new series at The Edge Prep. We're calling this series "Chats with Admissions Officers."
When I ask my students at the beginning of the application process what they think of admissions officers, they think of frightening people who are out to make their lives miserable. The admissions officer is cold and out to make your life miserable. His years of professionally rejecting thousands of qualified applicants have made it nearly impossible to excite him. You must impress him with your scholarly mind and incredible feats outside of the classroom, but mostly he yawns at your accomplishments and will eventually reject you.
This is funny, but understandable. Admissions officers have a well-earned reputation as rejection machines. And for good reason! If you flip through any college catalogue, you’ll notice that admissions rates are shockingly low. The admissions officers we’ve met with tend to be very warm people who like helping young people. If you speak with most of them, you hear stories about students they’ve pushed for and profiles that they found compelling. Rather than being heartless, a surprising number of them are caring, decent people who are trying to improve young people’s lives through education.
Students searching for scholarships will often find it difficult to find scholarships online. Schools may post scholarships, but it's difficult to determine whether you have a realistic shot. We'll try to push these admissions officers on exactly what they're looking for so you can determine whether you can realistically get a scholarship.
The other problem is that college websites and catalogues tend to look the same after awhile. There are usually shots of a green campus and vaguely diverse student body. You’ll see the words “learning” and “community” a lot. These interviews will try to cover ground that you can't find on the website or in the university catalogue.
We hope this series will allow you to get a closer look at colleges and universities from across the globe. There are a lot out there!
Yes, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) is accepted at most Singapore universities
Is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) Accepted at Singapore Universities?
The short answer is yes, Singapore universities accept the International Baccalareate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). For more detailed information about individual universities, see below for a summary and links.
- The National University of Singapore accepts the IB. Applicants (regardless of nationality) seeking admission to NUS should present the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. This includes full-time National Servicemen (NSF) with IB Diploma who have a course reserved in NUS, but wish to apply for a change of course.
Applicants will be considered for admission based on the strength of their academic achievements and additional interviews/tests if required.
For courses that require additional interviews/tests, applicants will also be assessed based on their performance during interviews and/or tests.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to authorise International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to release their International Baccalaureate (IB) transcripts to NUS. Applicants can do so by informing their school’s IB coordinator.
- The Nanyang Technological University also accepts the IB.
We emailed Yale-NUS to ask about their IB requirements. This is the response from David Royster, the Senior Admissions Counsellor:
"No specifics on curriculum (IB or otherwise) – our students tend to score on the higher side, but we practice holistic admissions. If you’re asking about transfer credits: transfer credit is not awarded for any courses completed prior."
- For The Singapore University of Technology and Design, regardless of your nationality, if you are applying with a International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), St. Joseph’s Institution, School of the Arts (SOTA), and Singapore Sports School, you may refer to the admission requirements below and apply using this application form. If you are not from any of these schools, please apply through International Baccalaureate Diploma (International) listed under International Qualifications. https://sutd.edu.sg/Admissions/Undergraduate/Application/Admissions-Requirements/International-Baccalaureate-Diploma-(Singapore)
- The Singapore Managament University requires a good IB diploma. https://admissions.smu.edu.sg/admissions/ib-diploma
You should expect the results around October 27, give or take five days.
After you take your SAT, it takes about three weeks for the College Board to grade your exam and post your scores online.
You should expect the results around October 27th, give or take five days.
You can check your SAT scores on the College Board website.
Shortly after the test, the College Board will announce the exact date when the scores will be released.
Will I be able to find out what mistakes I made?
You will get a sub-score of your performance in each section, but no, you will not get a question by question breakdown.
This is why it is important to take practice tests and to review all your mistakes and guesses. (Read more here about why reviewing your correct guesses is so important.)