Saturday, May 9, 2009

Guessing on the AP Psychology Exam Spreadsheet

One of the most difficult aspects of the AP Psychology Exam for some students to grasp is the penalty for guessing. This is especially true for students who take the ACT which has no penalty versus students who take the SAT which has the same penalty as the AP Psychology exam.

To help explain the guessing penalty I created a spreadsheet detailing how scores are adjusted due to the quarter point deduction for every wrong answer. The chart assumes the student answers all one hundred questions thereby not leaving any questions blank. If they do, they should add one quarter point to the adjusted score for each question they leave blank.

The first column of the chart depicts the number of correct questions a student receives on the AP Psychology Exam. The second column is the point deduction for guessing on all the remaining questions. The third and final column shows the adjusted score after the guessing deduction.

For a larger view of the chart, simply click on the above graphic. To download a PDF or Excel version, go to Please note, there are two versions of the Excel document, one for Excel 2007 (.xlsx) and one for early versions of Excel (.xls).

A curious side note, many SAT preparation books suggest the SAT does NOT have a penalty for guessing rather a wrong-answer penalty. While the end result is the exact same score, the difference in phraseology is interesting.

1 comment:

Mr. Cantor said...

I don't understand the spreadsheet. What would the column headings be for column A, B, and C? Is the assumption that guessing would be correct 20% of the time?