Guessing on the COOP ( Or any multiple choice exam)

Guessing on the COOP ( Or any multiple choice exam)


So you’re trying to get into a Catholic high school. . . you’re at the testing center, taking the COOP, HSPT, ISEE or TACHS.  Suddenly you come to a section with several questions that you just don’t know. What to do?

Guess.  That’s right….take a guess.  One of the good things about the COOP is that you are not penalized for wrong answers (unlike other standardized tests which take off more points if you guess and miss than they would if you just left it blank).

But don’t just take a random guess.  Instead, make an educated guess.  The COOP is all multiple choice, so there are things you can do to improve your odds of making a right guess.  Here are some tips.

1) Read each question carefully, but just as importantly, read all of the responses. Too many people select the first answer that sounds good, without considering that one of the later answers might fit even better.  More on Following Directions.

2) See if there are any answers that are so ridiculous that they could not possibly be right. If so, mark out those responses.  If you have four choices and can eliminate two, you’ve just doubled your chances of making a right guess.

3) Keep in mind that all of the above is frequently the correct answer but not always.  But if you’ve eliminated a couple of answers and still don’t know the correct response, but all of the above is one of them, go ahead and choose it.

4) The test writer frequently will have two or more choices that look very close to each other, in order to try to confuse you into picking the wrong one. But this can work in your favor.  Usually, on a multiple choice test, if two answers are similar, but the others are not, this means the correct response is one of the two that are similar.  Example:  The question is who assassinated Abraham Lincoln?  The responses are:  A) Lee Harvey Oswald, B) John Wilkes Booth, C) George Booth, D) John Hinckley.  If you’re completely unsure of the correct answer, then pick either B or C.  Both of these have a last name of Booth, which means the test-taker is trying to get you to overlook the correct Booth for the incorrect one.  Now your odds are 50/50 for getting the right answer (which, of course, is B, John Wilkes Booth).

Guessing is not such a bad option.  But only when you have no idea of the correct answer.  See more on Answering Multiple Choice  and The Math of Guessing

6 thoughts on “Guessing on the COOP ( Or any multiple choice exam)”

  1. i think guessing is good if you will not be penalized for wrong answers. its better to guess than to leave questions blank

  2. i love your point on “all of the above” answers. i have also found out that most times they are the correct answer. not always but most times

    1. Often but not always – that is the key point. Really watch following rules and that kind of advice – if you follow it all the time you’ll be in trouble

  3. Do not be in a hurry to just guess when you hit a blank. think about the problem and try make probable guesses.

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