Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Test-Taking Strategy, A Facebook Confession

Facebook has been a great thing for me so far. I can place links to these blogs and other websites, and I can also update my status with "Robert is blogging for his Series 7 students at 5:30 on a cold morning in March," in order to mention my business as often as possible. Another connection to the business comes from all the quizzes that I receive from my old high school friends challenging me to "name that 80's band" or "name that 80's tune." I'm flattered that they think of me as someone to challenge to a quiz, and I also see an opportunity to put my test-taking strategies to the test. The first quiz I took was called "name that 80s band," and I have to admit, I was a little nervous. The first question had me up against the wall--it was a picture of a heavy metal band, and that was really not my forte. I actually thought of my customers at the testing center panicking over the very first question. In honor of them I took a deep breath and said, what are the four choices? We had: Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Dio, Judas Priest. Wow--talk about an advantage! Okay, first, the difficulty level of this facebook-based quiz can not be that freaking high; they would not put a picture of Black Sabbath here unless Ozzy were clearly visible--Sabbath was eliminated. A Judas Priest photo would have to have at least one guy on a motorcycle or wearing motorcycle garb, so Judas Priest was eliminated. Now I'm down to Dio and the Scorpions? What's the name of this quiz? "name that 80's band." Who was a bigger force in the 80's, the Scorpions or Dio? The Scorpions--I win. I now have a comment on my "wall" from the friend who sent me the challenge after seeing the score of 100%. He wrote, "How on earth did you know the name of the guy from the Split Enz?"
Of course, I didn't. I just eliminated the wrong choices and then asked--who was a true "80's band"? And, what would this test want me to say?
I also just got a 100% on a "name that 80's tune" challenge. On the first 9, I simply knew the answer. But I would have only gotten a 90% if I had not used process of elmination on the last one, avoiding "The Bangles" and choosing "Debbie Gibson," not because I have a clue what Debbie Gibson actually sang or looked like, but because "The Bangles" had one or two hits, and the title of the song in the question wasn't one of them.
Always use the multiple choice format to your advantage. Always focus on eliminating wrong answers to improve your odds. Never indicate "single" for your facebook status unless your spouse has a really good sense of humor.

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