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3 Hacks for Succeeding on Multiple-Choice Tests

Prepping for the SAT or ACT? Check out these quick pointers while you're strategizing your test plan. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/3-hacks-for-succeeding-on-multiple-choice-tests/
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Replies to: 3 Hacks for Succeeding on Multiple-Choice Tests

  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threads Senior Member
    What is the reasoning behind picking a "letter of the day"? Is there any validity to it? See the discussion here for some discussion that suggests there isn't:
    https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1986950/explain-with-math-why-you-should-choose-a-letter-of-the-day-to-guess-on-a-mc-t
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  • MWolfMWolf 2007 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Statistically speaking, no method is better for this. The only benefit of choosing the same letter for all the remaining questions is that it's quick. So you can always choose C, or do letter of the day, or do it in a pattern that is pleasing to you. However, consistency is not any better, since every letter selected by the computer is independent of the other, so, for any question, each letter has the same chance at being correct, no matter what you chose in the last question, or what you will choose in the next question.

    We'll simplify and use three choices, with the number in parentheses being the probability that this is the correct answer:

    Q1: A (1/3); B (1/3); C (1/3)

    Q2 A (1/3); B (1/3); C (1/3)

    Q3 A (1/3); B (1/3); C (1/3)

    So, the chances that you will pick a correct answer in Question 2 is 1/3, no matter which letter you pick, and it will be 1/3 no matter which letter you picked in Question 1.
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  • coolweathercoolweather 5878 replies82 threads Senior Member
    edited January 2019
    I think it's better to pick the answer you think it's the right one for whatever reason you can think of. If you are going to pick one of the three movies to watch but you don't know any of them, how do you pick?
    edited January 2019
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1816 replies31 threads Senior Member
    "If you choose your guessing letters randomly, however, it’s more likely that you’ll get fewer guesses correct than if you were to just pick one letter and go for it."

    No. It isn't.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13219 replies247 threads Senior Member
    there is absolutely no penalty for guessing on either of these tests, and therefore you should never leave a question unanswered. (Did you know this is one of the most common myths about the SAT?)

    It's not a myth, it used to be true until they changed it.

    It was never true for the ACT AFAIK.
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  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threads Senior Member
    The word "hack" really has become functionally meaningless. Here's a hack for getting to work on time: Did you know you could leave early? And one for survival: Have you tried breathing and consuming food and water?

    More seriously, the one about guessing strategy still hasn't been supported and I remain deeply skeptical that it's even valid at all.
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