Test Taking Tricks: Good Guessing!
Hello! My university has some flyers in our testing center to help students on their exams, so I thought I’d share one of them. These particular tips are taken from "Where There’s a Will, There’s an A.“
Even when we do our best to study hard, we will inevitably encounter questions for which we simply don’t know the answer (boo). When this happens, don’t panic! Use the following tips to increase your odds when guessing. Remember to eliminate the choices in the question that you know are incorrect, then apply these methods.
- "Multiple Choice” exams: When two out of four choices are opposites, pick one of those two as a best guess.
- Non-answers (Zero, None of the above) are usually poor guesses.
- In questions asking for the most or the least, pick the answer next to the most or the least (Most: 5 8 9 15 30)
- “All of the above” is generally a good guess.
- Longest multiple choice answers are good guesses.
- If two out of four choices are almost identical, pick the longer of the two.
- If a few questions have five possible choices instead of four, pick number five.
- If a question asks for a plural (or singular) answer, make sure you pick the plural (or singular) answer.
- When limiting words are used (all, never, always, must, etc.), “false” is usually the better answer.
- When general terms are used (most, some, usually, could, might, etc.), “true” is usually the better answer.
- Exaggerated or complex answers are generally “false.”
- Answer every question, even with a best guess as you go. Identify those you’re not sure of with a mark. Review these on a second pass.
- “Fill in the blank” exams: Never leave a question blank. Give it your best guess. You might guess correctly. Even if you don’t, you might get partial credit just for coming close.
- “Essay” exams: Say as much as you can, use short paragraphs, and write legibly. Volume, quality, clarity, and neatness pay off.
- Reread directions before turning in an exam. Did you define terms when you were asked to compare them? Use the entire period to double check.
- Answers quite often pop up in other questions. Keep that thought in mind.
- First impressions (initial guesses) are often best. If an answer comes to you from out of the blue, it’s probably your right brain at work. Don’t fight this intuition unless you’re sure it’s wrong.
- When a question is difficult to visualize, draw it.
- Assume a possible answer. Then work backwards to see if you’re right.
- Sit in front of the class (if the exam is in class). Ambiguous questions can be cleared up when you’re near the instructor.
- Stay until the very end. Questions may be clarified by the instructor as an afterthought.