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If You Know It, Don’t Blow It on the SAT Writing

Imagine that the SAT writing sections are your know-it-all parents, and while they are telling you to clean your room you notice pieces of broccoli stuck in their teeth. What do you do? Most likely, you are going to say something--HEY! You have something in your teeth!--not wait for five multiple choice answers to appear in midair to tell you what you could do.

You’ve probably heard this advice a million times: whenever solving a question, try to predict the answer. It is an adage that teachers, parents, and older friends have told you ever since you cracked open that first practice book. You’ve also probably immediately disregarded the advice with no duh or ORLY?. Because this information seems so common sense, it’s understandable to treat it lightly. However, common sense doesn’t always have time to shine in the intense test environment of the SAT. So, then, let’s explore why predicting the answer on SAT Writing is something worth actually considering, and not just knowing it’s something you could do but don’t do right now because you have this other thing that works pretty well...whatever that is.

The sad reality of the SAT is that time is a factor, so gaining extra seconds or minutes will always be a bonus. Predicting the answer in SAT Writing allows you to identify the grammatical problem in the question and then easily select the correct answer. Admittedly, you will need to be familiar with the grammar concepts, but let’s assume that you have taken the time to master these ideas. (If not, that is obviously your first step.) You can shave off minutes by knowing and identifying errors, and then, if there is a more complicated question, you won’t feel the urge to rush through it. In essence, by predicting the answers, you will decrease any stress related to time.

But time is not the only thing to consider for the SAT Writing section. Let’s not forget the significance of confidence. SAT Writing is notorious for playing mind games with students. Ever remember seeing three “No Error” answers in a row and questioning everything you know about grammar? Yeah, College Board plays with your mind like a cat plays with yarn. So how do you build a confidence of steel? That’s right, predicting the answer. Predicting the error in the sentence gives you control, something that most teenagers love anyway. You see the error and then you don’t need the answer choices to reaffirm or help guide you to the correct one; you are just so flippin’ smart that you laugh boisterously at silly answers with their obvious problems. And when you see multiple “No Error” answers in a row, you tip your imaginary hat to College Board, thinking, “Well, played...well, played.” You become better than the test by predicting the answer.

So next time your parents tell you to do something with broccoli stuck in their teeth, nicely tell them, like you always do. And next time you work on the SAT Writing section, predict the answers. Be confident and reduce your stress with such a simple trick. Don’t disregard the advice; it’s so commonplace for a reason. RIGHT?!


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