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Understand SAT Grid-In Questions

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,279 Senior Member
"Grid-in questions are a portion of the SAT math section and require students to solve for the answer. Student-produced response questions, also known as grid-in questions, are one feature of the SAT’s math portion. Unlike other questions on the SAT, grid-in questions are not multiple choice. Rather, you must independently determine the correct answer and enter it in the space provided.

Grid-in questions can cause students great concern and can lower scores if students do not know how to approach them. Consider these four steps for maximizing your grid-in performance." ...

https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/2017-08-07/understand-sat-grid-in-questions

Replies to: Understand SAT Grid-In Questions

  • 4MyKidz4MyKidz Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    Can anyone give me their thoughts on this: I've read that completing grid ins first is a better strategy to getting a higher score. The thought process being that the chances of you guessing and getting grid in's correct is next to nil...but you have a 25% chance of guessing correctly on hard multiple choice questions if necessary. Thoughts?
  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 4,054 Senior Member
    Are there grid in questions on the Math2 subject test or just the SAT1?
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,353 Senior Member
    Well, if the questions really are accurately (for you) placed in order from easiest to hardest, then what would probabl make sense is to do the easiest mult choice, then the easiest grid ins, then the harder mult choice, then the harder grid is... but that's an awful lot of back and forth.

    Find a strategy that works well for you in practice, and stick with it.
  • 4MyKidz4MyKidz Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    Thank you @bjkmom :)
  • pckellerpckeller Registered User Posts: 1,073 Senior Member
    While jumping around can be a pain, it really may be a necessary strategy, depending on where you are currently scoring. If you are already say a high 600's scorer or better, you can probably afford to just plow straight through, confident that you will have time to at least try everything.

    But if you are not at that level yet, there are two things worse than jumping around:

    1. Making silly mistakes or just overthinking an easy or medium problem because you were in a hurry
    2. Running out of time before you even looked at some of the easier grid-ins because the hard multiple choice sucked away your minutes.

    If this is an issue for you, then I recommend jumping from the mc to the grid-ins after 18 minutes in section 3 and after 40 minutes in section 4. You can always come back after you have done what you can in the grid-ins. And of course, fill in random letters for any mc you didn't have time for.

    I know this sounds a little crazy, but it has been working really well for my students. Try a practice test this way and see if you like it. As @bjkmom said: "Find a strategy that works well for you in practice, and stick with it."

    But as for your original question: I've never had a student who used that method (doing the grid-ins first) successfully.
  • 4MyKidz4MyKidz Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    @pckeller Thank You! That was very helpful!!!!
  • givemethtcheesegivemethtcheese Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    @suzy100 Grid in questions are on the SAT 1, not the SAT Math 2 subject test.
  • babiestbabiest Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Do people really find these a challenge? The instructions seem pretty clear
  • MITer94MITer94 Registered User Posts: 4,712 Senior Member
    Grid-ins really shouldn't be any harder than the rest of the math section. The only difference is you can't take advantage of multiple-choice strategies (like plugging in the answer).
  • pckellerpckeller Registered User Posts: 1,073 Senior Member
    ^ Actually, it is kind of surprising how many of the strategies do still work. You can do trial and error using your own made up guesses. That actually works. And you can make up numbers for the variables as long as they fit the problem. Fluent algebra students may not need these alternative solutions, but they do work and sometimes with ridiculous ease. I still have to post my alternative solutions to test #8. I'll try to get to it later this week.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,353 Senior Member
    The problem is not that people typically find them difficult-- as long as they're familiar with the word "truncate."

    The problem is that the directions are in the middle of a timed math section.

    So people spend testing time reading each little bit of instructions-- or run the risk of missing something important--when they should already be familiar with those instructions. It's not a matter of difficulty, it's a matter of the best use of your time.
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