Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

WAC/Health Sciences

Some last-ditch ideas

If all else fails, here are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeves:

1.  Responses that use absolute words like "always" or "never" are less likely to be correct than those that use conditional words like "usually" and "probably."
2.  "Funny" or humorous responses are usually wrong.
3.  "All of the above" is often the correct response.  If you can verify that two or more of the possible responses are correct, "all of the above" is a safe guess.
4.  "None of the above" is often an incorrect response; however this rule is less reliable than the "all of the above" rule listed in number 3.  Also, be very careful in these cases not to be trapped by double-negatives.
5.  Look for grammatical clues.  If the stem ends with "an," for example, then the correct response would begin with a vowel (an apple) and not a consonant (a table).
6.  The longest response is often correct, as the professor has loaded it with qualifying adjectives or phrases, or has included as much information as possible.
7.  Look for verbal associations.  A response that repeats a key word used in the stem is more likely to be correct.
7.  If all else fails (and you are out of time, or you mind is just totally blank), choose response b or c.  On a subconscious level, test-writers and professors feel that the correct answer is better "hidden" if surrounded by distractors. 

Remember!!!!  Guess work is never the best way to achieve academic success!  The best method is careful study beginning well before the exam date.  However, having a good method (even if it is a guessing method) can prove very helpful in difficult testing situations.