An ideal multiple-choice test’s answers would be totally random and free of any sign of human intervention. However, that’s not the case. Tests are designed by humans and therefore, human behavior leaves its stamp on the test. You can take advantage of this fundamental flaw if you realize that there are patterns in almost all multiple choice tests, including driver’s tests and the SATs. So, whether you’re taking a high-school biology final or getting your driver’s license, there are a few ways to increase your chances of answering correctly when you don’t know a particular answer. Here are the intelligent ways to guess:
1. Ignore what you’ve been told
Forget all of the rumored techniques that you’ve heard from friends and colleagues. They just don’t work. In fact, according to studies, you might be better off answering “none of the above” or “all of the above,” since they prove to be correct 52% of the time.
2. Eliminate what you know
Your first step in minimizing answers from which you will guess is to cross out the options which you are sure or almost sure are incorrect.
3. Look around
Correct choices (A, B, C, etc.) very rarely repeat consecutively. So, if you’re sure about the answers to the questions surrounding the problematic one, you can probably eliminate the options that appear on either side.
4. Go long
The longest answer of a multiple choice is often the correct one. The logic to this is that test-makers must be sure that an answer is 100% correct, which often involves some complex or detailed language. Of course, this is a last-ditch tactic.
5. Eliminate the outliers.
Any answer choice which is extremely, outrageously different than the other choices is often too obvious to be correct. You can eliminate it.