Inevitably, there are questions on the Board of Certification (BOC) exam where you must guess the correct answer. We all get stuck sometimes, especially when some of the answers seem better than others, but you don’t know which answer is obviously correct. So, what do you do?
Needing to guess the correct answer on the BOC exam is common, yet we often don’t prepare well for this scenario. Making a plan for guessing is important as you prepare for the BOC exam. When you consider guessing, think about the following questions:
- When do you start using your guessing plan?
- How do you narrow down the choices?
- Which answer should you select?
When to Start Using Your Guessing Plan
There are effective elimination strategies you can use when you know that you need to guess on a BOC exam question. And trust us – it’s not always selecting C when you don’t know. Because the BOC exam is timed, you must use your guessing plan effectively to take advantage of the limited time you have. To guess correctly, you need to first decide whether or not you actually will attempt to guess.
The best-case scenario is that you don’t have to guess in the first place. Use your basic reasoning skills and knowledge of the subject first. Look for keywords in the question and try to connect the question to something you DO know. If you realize that you don’t know at all – then it’s time to start guessing. It’s better to start guessing early rather than sit on the question for too long. Remember – it only takes a few seconds to remember something and answer it if you truly know the answer.
Narrowing Down Your Answer Choices
Carefully eliminating the obviously wrong answer choices can take some time, but can help jog your memory. Your odds of guessing correctly are also dependent on how many options you have to choose from. The less options you have (like a True or False question, where you have a 50% chance of getting right), raises your odds of guessing correctly. This makes eliminating the obviously wrong answers so valuable – you are actively raising the odds of guessing the right answer.
However, when using this strategy, you must be mindful of either accidentally eliminating the correct response, or selecting an answer based on an impression. When you want to eliminate an answer, first challenge yourself with this question: Would you bet money on this answer being incorrect?
If the answer is yes, you can more confidently eliminate that response. By holding yourself to a higher standard, you can lessen the risk of eliminating the correct answer. You can also use this same strategy to mark answers you know are correct, particularly for multi-select answers.
Choosing Your Best Guess-timate
Once you’ve eliminated the answer you’ve made your bet on being wrong, you move on to selecting your answer. This is when you can fall into the trap of choosing based on impression. The BOC exam writers know that you’ll be guessing on some of the answers, so they intentionally use incorrect answers that could seem plausible. It’s frustrating, but the best way to think about this scenario is to pick the most correct answer. If you have two responses that could both theoretically be correct, this is when you need to think critically and choose the best response from the two options. There is a difference between choosing an answer because it sounds right and choosing an answer because you know it is right.
The best way to answer these questions? Think critically, and recognize the difference between your knowledge and your impressions. Read carefully, look for contextual clues, and select the best answer that you can possibly guess.