Answering strategy

Since there is a ‘?’-answering option and wrong answers lead to loss of marks, the answering strategy influences the test results. On this page, a few tips are given to improve your answering strategy.

  • No trick questions There are no trick questions in progress tests. The test committee disapproves of such questions and, if detected when the test results are processed, they are cancelled. This means that you can trust all questions, even the ones that seem too easy. In fact many of the questions are very easy (to enable even first year students to get some of the questions right).
  • Don’t think too hard If you take a long time to complete the test there is a good chance that you are reading too much into questions. If you find that this leads to incorrect answers, you might try answering questions more superficially and more quickly.
  • More knowledge but lower score? If you did well in previous years, but are now doing less well even though you know much more, you may be a victim of ‘searching’. If you tend to leave questions unanswered because you don’t trust them, you should try to answer them this time.
  • Compare your strategy with peers Check if you have answered considerably more or considerably fewer questions than the other students in your year. If you used the ‘?’-option much more than the other students in your year, you have left (many) more questions unanswered than they have. In that case your real knowledge is not reflected in the test results and your score will be low. In many cases failure to answer questions is an important cause of an insufficient outcome: the fewer questions you answer, the less knowledge is being measured. Partial knowledge can also gain points statistically speaking! To put it simply: if you answer only one question (but you are 100% sure the answer is correct) you will never pass a progress test. If you answer all the questions about all the subjects about which you have heard something, you know that all your knowledge has contributed to the result. Please note: if you play it safe you are likely to get fewer questions wrong, but on the whole this strategy is more likely to cost you points (due to fewer correct answers) than to reduce the number of incorrect answers you give!
  • Answer as many questions as your peers In general, answering a question is more helpful than not answering it: the chance of answering correctly for students of higher years is above 0,5 even when taking a gamble. If you leave (much) more questions unanswered in comparison to the students in your year, try to answer (much) more questions. Only leave the questions open when you never heard of the topic. If you don’t trust this strategy, notice that it is safe to leave as many questions open as students of your own year (unless there are reasons that your knowledge is impaired, for example not having passed or attended a course).
  • Check why you had an Insufficient score Check whether you did not pass the progress test due to insufficient knowledge or due to an inadequate answering strategy.
  • Check why answers were wrong Check whether you did not read the question well or studied the topic in a wrong way. When you can’t explain why you answered a question wrongly, this can be due to a black out (stress, hunger) or copying the answer incorrectly.
  • Changing after answering? When you change a lot of answers after first answering the questions, you should check if this lead to improved results or not. In general, changing answers at revision of the questions leads to a decrease in score.
  • Practice with the previous test It is very useful to remake the previous test at ease, especially the questions you left open in first instance. Then, calculate the score with and without the answers to those questions. Usually, the score is improved when the questions that were first unanswered are included. Especially for students who do not answer relatively many questions, have a highly improved score.
  • First, answer the question for yourself A last tip that can help by a lot, although not all, questions: cover the possible answers and first try to answer the question for yourself. Then read the options to see if you already know the right answer.