Answer all Questions

What should you do if you are unsure about one or more of the questions on a test? Usually, you should try to answer the question(s) anyway. The reason for this is simple: even if you’re just making a blind guess, there’s a chance that you might be right. With true and false questions, you have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer. With multiple choice questions, you will have a 20 to 25% chance of guessing the correct answer if there are four or five choices. If you can eliminate even one answer choice, those percentages jump to 25% and around 33%. For essay or short answer questions, provide some brief points or key phrases that you think relate to the question, even if you can’t go into great detail. This is an effective way to get a point or two if you don’t know a lot about the topic or are running out of time. After all, a score of 1 or 2 out of 10 is better than not receiving any points at all.

The only time that you shouldn’t necessarily answer every question is if you will be penalized for a wrong answer. Usually, if you answer a question incorrectly, you simply don’t get any credit for that question. In other words, a wrong answer is worth zero. In some cases, however, you will actually have points deducted for providing an answer that is incorrect. In other words, a wrong answer might be worth -1 or another negative value that the instructor has decided upon. If this is the case, guessing is obviously not a good strategy, and you should only answer the questions that you are sure of.
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