The Best Guesses

Written by Tanen Clark:
Since the days when the scariest standardized test was the SAT, I’ve been superstitiously tracking my multiple-choice answers.  More than 3 Ds in a row?  Need to get some Cs in there.  Any sequence spelling out BAD needs to be checked and double-checked.  Then there are the best ways to guess an answer when you’re totally stumped.  If several answers end in the same number, it has to be one of those.  You see five consecutive numerical choices — go with the fourth or fifth.  I have the art of multiple choice guessing down to a science.

Unfortunately, the computer based testing used by the SOA/CAS doesn’t allow you to easily see that a BAD has snuck into your answers.  Some of my old traditions have fallen out of use.  But in using Adapt I’ve developed new habits (it really would be too generous to call them methods) to ensure maximal luck when taking actuarial exams.  Do the numerical answers fall into 3 sets, 2 groups of 2 and a singleton?  Perfect: go with the largest answer in the middle group.  Is your answer incredibly far away from all of the given answers (and is there any more frustrating feeling than working through a problem for 5 minutes and seeing nothing remotely similar on the screen)?  Have you tried doubling it and guessing that answer?  If all of these fail, you have to go with the number that ends in an 8.

The most important trick: take a level 7 test created with all new questions. If you don’t need to guess on a single question, you’re ready for the real exam!  So far it’s worked perfectly: I’ve had two subscriptions to Adapt and passed both subsequent exams.  For the upcoming MLC, I’ll be using the same scientifically tested system: two weeks of Adapt and at least one level 7 test with no guessing.