How Does the SSAT’s Guessing Penalty Affect My Child?

How Does the SSAT’s Guessing Penalty Affect My Child?

Standardized tests are notoriously difficult. Between trick questions, advanced content, and rigorous pacing, these tests are designed to challenge even the strongest of students. When it comes to tests such as the SSAT, a guessing penalty is just one more hurdle students must overcome on the path to success.

What Is a Guessing Penalty?

For some standardized tests, graders remove ¼ of a point for each missed question. The purpose behind this scoring is to discourage students from selecting answers by randomly guessing.

What Does the Guessing Penalty Look Like? 

Let’s consider an example in which a student takes a 100-question test and misses 12 questions. 

With a ¼-point guessing penalty, ¼ of those 12 missed questions (i.e., 3 points) will be deducted from his total score. Now, instead of earning an 88/100 for his raw score, he earns an 85/100 for his final score, effectively dropping his overall score by three percentage points. 

So Should Students Skip Difficult Questions?

Students trained for the SSAT by Cardinal Education need not fear the guessing penalty. 

Because of our powerful test-taking strategies designed to minimize students’ error margin, students benefit more from making educated guessing than they stand to lose by passing up the opportunity for points.

In addition to practice in our one-on-one coaching sessions, Cardinal Education students can take an unlimited number of free practice exams to further hone their test-taking strategies and reduce stress on official test day. 

The Takeaway

Standardized testing can be a tough nut to crack, but with the proper mindset and strategies, your child can go into their official test ready to succeed, guessing penalty and all. For more information on how Cardinal Education can help your family, please reach out via our Contact Us page.