SAT Tip of the Week: Punt Your Way to a Higher Score

SAT Tip of the Week - FullWhile our SAT program is called SAT 2400 and trains students to successfully get perfect scores on the SAT, in the wider world of all SAT test-takers, only a small percentage of test takers can get close to a perfect 2400.

Depending on your college goals, you may not be targeting a perfect 2400 and may just need a certain score to qualify to get recruited to a sports team or another special program at a college.  As a result, if you’re scoring under 1500 on the SAT and want a quick and easy boost to you score, it might be advantageous for you to use the “Punt Strategy” on the SAT.

In football, if a team is caught on 4th down with too many yards to go and deep in their own field, they will elect to punt the ball and vie for better position on defense.  Similarly, on the SAT, not all students will be able to finish every single question on every single section.

The SAT is timed such that there is incredible time pressure to finish each section and answer all the questions.  Since you lose a ¼ point for each incorrect answer, it’s often against your interests to try to hastily answer the last few questions under pressure.  In fact, some students would do better if they left the last few toughest questions blank and instead focused on getting the first questions correct on each section.

This is because:

  • The questions get harder towards the end of each section
  • Trying to answer all the questions in a section under pressure leads to careless errors
  • It’s better to get one question correct and leave one blank than to get one right and one wrong
  • Giving yourself a set number of “punts” per section makes you feel better about skipping confusing questions and moving on, which takes the mental pressure off

To implement the Punt Strategy, use the table below and start with the left-most column to find the scaled score you’re targeting for each section.  Then, the columns to the right tell you how many punts you get for various sections with right-most column giving the total number of skips or punts you get for that entire SAT subject area.

Practice this with SAT practice tests and if you that you have time left over on each section, challenge yourself by reducing the number of punts you give yourself per section.  With a little time and practice, you’ll find yourself more confident and relaxed during the test, which will lead to higher scores!

 

Critical Reading Punt Table

 

You get this many Punts (questions to skip)

Scaled

 

 

 

 

Score

Raw Score

23-question

25-question

19-question

Total # of Punts

Needed

Needed

section

section

section

(questions to skip)

300

5

17

19

16

52

350

9

15

17

15

47

400

14

12

14

11

37

450

21

8

10

7

25

500

29

3

5

5

13

550

38

0

2

1

3

600

46

0

0

0

2-4

650

53

0

0

0

2-4

700

59

0

0

0

0-2

750

63

0

0

0

0-2

800

67

0

0

0

0

 

Math Punt Table

 

You get this many Punts (questions to skip)

 

 

18-Questions section

 

 

Scaled

20-

8

 

16-

Total # of

Score

Raw Score

question

Multiple

10

question

punts

Needed

Needed

section

choice

Grid-ins*

section

(questions to skip)

350

7

14

6

8

14

42

400

12

13

5

7

12

37

450

19

11

4

6

10

31

500

25

9

3

5

8

25

550

32

6

2

4

6

18

600

38

4

2

3

3

12

650

44

2

1

2

1

6

700

47

0

0

1

0

1

750

52

0

0

0

0

0

800

54

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

Writing Multiple-Choice Punt Table

 

You get this many Punts (questions to skip)

 

 

 

 

Scaled Score

Raw Score

35-question

14-question

Total # of Punts

Needed

Needed

section

section

(questions to skip)

35

5

25

9

34

40

11

22

7

29

45

17

17

6

23

50

22

13

5

18

55

27

9

4

13

60

31

8

3

11

65

36

4

0

4

70

40

0

0

0

75

44

0

0

0

80

49

0

0

0

 

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