# How to Decide Whether You Should Guess in a Multiple Choice Test

Whether you forgot to mark it on your calendar or was just too lazy, you have to take a multiple choice test you've forgotten to study for! Should you guess in a multiple choice test? This is how to decide!

## Steps

1. 1
Read the instructions. If you do not lose marks for getting a question wrong, guess it! Otherwise, you will need a bit of maths to decide whether you're going to guess.
2. 2
Read the instructions again. Let's say you lose 0.5 marks for every wrong answer and get 2 marks for every correct answer.
3. 3
Count the number of possible answers. Don't count the answers that are obviously wrong! For example, if the question is about organelles but one of the choices is an organ, ignore that choice. Let's say there are four possible choices in our example.
4. 4
Calculate the expected number of marks you will get using the following formula:
1. M = (nr/p)*mr-(nw/p)*mw 2. where M is the number of marks, p is the number of possible choices, nr and nw are the number of correct and wrong answers (nr is usually 1), and mr and mw are the number of marks you gain for getting it right and lose for getting it wrong respectively.
3. In our example, M = (1/4)*2-(3/4)*0.5 = 0.125.
5. 5
If M is positive, guess. Otherwise, don't guess.

## Tips

• You might even give it a program on your calculator if you're really worried about your multiple choice marks.
• You can get a similar formula for assertion-reason and true or false questions. For true or false, it is M = (nr-nw)/2. For assertion-reason questions, it is more complicated.

## Warnings

• This technique is not a substitute for studying.

## Article Info

Categories: Tests and Exams