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How To Cheat On A Multiple Choice Test

How to cheat on a multiple choice test

It is easy for students not to focus on multiple choice questions so much because they think it is not as difficult as other types of questions which require descriptive writing. However, this may not be entirely true.

Multiple choice questions require as much work as other question formats and also need to be practiced. Some students employ methods of guesswork for answering these questions but in truth, you need logic and good skills to answer them.

Normally, people are of the opinion that answers for multiple choice questions are arranged in random order and have no pattern in which the correct or incorrect answers are created. But, William Poundstone who is an author, has done some research on this concept and says that there is a pattern that he could discern from examining a sample of more 100 tests consisting of 2456 questions.

And he claims that this pattern can be found in multiple choice papers set by humans as well as those created and randomized by computers. He devised a strategy from this study which if you follow can help you guess the correct answer without working out or knowing the right answer.

Of course, William Poundstone advises students that studying well and answering the questions based on the knowledge you have gathered, he also says that "a guessing strategy is useful to the extent that it beats random guessing."

How to cheat on a multiple choice test

The following tips will help you outsmart and make intelligent guesses on a multiple choice test. The tips and ideas given below include some of the tactics proposed by William Poundstone.

Avoid being too conventional about your guessing strategy – Conventional strategies include the following:

  • The chances that the middle option is the correct answer are high

  • Avoid answers that have "all of the above" or "none of the above" or "always" or "never" etc

The above conventional wisdom is to be discarded, according to Poundstone. He says that avoiding this archaic strategy will enhance your chances of guessing the right answer by about 90%.

Eliminate the wrong ones – It makes sense to eliminate those options that you know for sure are wrong. Then the guesswork is reduced to fewer options which, in turn, will increase the chances of choosing the right answer.

Use the True or False option – If the options are too confusing, then for each of them, do the True or False test. If the answers for this True or False test for all options except one is False, then the one with the "True" answer will, in all likelihood, by the right answer.

Check your question in detail – Read your question again and check to see if it finishes with "the" or "a" or "an." The answer will then be such that it is appropriate to the article with which the question ended. This may not work for all multiple choice questions but you might find it useful in a few English paper questions.

The "all of the above" option – Some multiple choice questions have this option. Do not ignore it completely. If you are sure that at least two of the given options are correct for the question, then this option could be a prudent choice.

The longest option is quite often the correct answer – When the lengths of the answer options are varying, then it is quite likely that the option with the longest answer is the correct one. This is because framers of question papers cannot make the right answer very short.

Middle order choice – This is not to be confused with the middle options (perhaps B or C) choice which is what conventional wisdom advises. Here the middle order among the different answers can be prudently taken as the right answer. For example, if the options are 200, 250, 300 and 350, then it is quite likely that either 250 or 300 is the right answer. This is based on a logical reasoning. It is known to be true that designers are biased in such a way that they keep the right answer higher than the minimum and less than the maximum.

Follow your first impression instinct – It is preferable to go with your first impression because normally this is correct. When you have read the question one time and have chosen what you believe is the correct option then it is best to avoid reading the other options as it might simply lead to confusion.

Plan your time well during the test – Go through the entire paper and finish off those questions for which you know the answer. Skip those questions which you are doubtful about. When you have completed all the right answers, you will feel more confident about yourself and also you will have more time to focus on the ones you don't know.

Read the question carefully – The primary reason that many students do not read the question thoroughly and carefully is because it is a timed test, they believe that precious time is lost in reading too carefully. This is quite a foolhardy thought. When you read the question in a hurried manner, chances are high that you miss the core point; and for which you actually know the answer. Hence, take the time to read the question well before moving on to the options.

Underline the keywords in the question – It is important to focus on the keywords in the question. This will guide you and help you narrow down the true meaning of the question. With this information, you will be better equipped to choose the right option.

One of the opposite answers could be the right one – It is a common trick employed by teachers to test the knowledge level of their students. Two of the options could be directly contradicting each other. It is highly likely that one of them is the right answer. You can focus on these two options only and make your choice based on other data that you might have.

Look out for grammatically wrong options – It is natural for most paper designers to focus on the right answer and make sure that it is drafted without error. The other options do not get this kind of attention. So, it is possible some grammatical errors crept into the wrong choices inadvertently and never got corrected because it was not noticed. Hence, eliminate those answers which are grammatically wrong.

Single word in multiple options – There might be cases wherein one word appears in many options of the question under consideration. It is quite probable that one of the options with this word is the right one. Using this advantage, eliminate all the odd answers and make your choice from the list of similar ones.

While the above are some tips given to help you make an informed guess at the right answer, some students also use the following method to cheat on a multiple choice test:

Use of codes – This is normally a group activity. One or two persons in the groups might be really smart or could actually spend time and energy to prepare for the test. A commonly understood code is discussed beforehand. For example, if the right option is the first one, then the others in the group get to know it when one of the pre-designated leaders clear their throat once; if the right option is the second one, then they would be clearing of throats twice; and so on and so forth.

Other code signals such as tapping the desk could also be used. A major drawback in this kind of method is if there is more than one group seated in the same room, there could be plenty of signals being passed around resulting in overall mayhem and confusion.

Final Notes

None of the above tips can guarantee you 100% success. Every trick or idea has its own set of demerits and disadvantages. They could work for some tests and fail disastrously for others. Yet, these tips with some practice work much better than mindless guesswork.

Let me reiterate that like any other question formats, multiple choice questions also need a lot of preparation and hard work. Intense preparation and an early start are the best strategies to do well in any type of test. As you prepare for your multiple choice formats, pay attention to details such as the concepts used, the grammar, how common are the wrong choices, any discerning patterns, etc.

This will help you understand and strike at the pattern used in your multiple choice test. Moreover, guessing all the time will not take you very far. You might get a few right questions for a few tests. What about the balance? So, focus on studying and preparing well for all tests.

The experts at Prescott Papers understand your dilemma and are at your service in case you need professional help to write custom essays, projects, and assignments. You can contact us for all kinds of writing help in the area of academics.

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