In this episode you'll discover a test taking secret expert test takers use. The secret comes from combining a Canadian Game Show Host's problem and neuroscience. In this episode, you'll discover: The Power of Addition By Subtraction to get better...
In this episode you'll discover a test taking secret expert test takers use. The secret comes from combining a Canadian Game Show Host's problem and neuroscience. In this episode, you'll discover:
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Welcome to Episode 3 of the College Prep Confidential Podcast. Today, I’ll reveal one of the secrets of great test takers, by mixing neuroscience and a Canadian Game Show wisdom, in the episode titled: Canadian Game Show Hosts Discovers The Key to Test Taking Mastery from Addition By Subtraction. And the power of this secret earns you an average of 2-4 additional correct answers for every 20 questions on an exam...just by guessing!
In 1963, a new game show came out called Let’s Make a Deal.
Let's Make a Deal took members of the studio audience, they called them "traders.” These traders made deals with the host. In most cases, a trader was offered something of value and given a choice of whether to keep it or exchange it for a something else. The game show’s “hook”, and a big part of it’s addictive appeal was this: That other item is hidden from the trader until that choice is made. Here’s the fun part: the trader thus doesn’t know if he or she is getting something of greater value or a prize that is referred to as a "zonk," an item purposely chosen to be of little or no value to the trader.
Now, this show gave birth to a secret the best test takers use to conquer ACT and SAT exams. And I’ll get to that in a minute. The secret comes from what’s called “The Monty Hall Problem.” Monty Hall was the host of Let’s Make a Deal.
Here’s how the Monty Hall problem works…
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?
The correct answer, by the way, is to change your Choice to Door #2.
The first time I heard this answer, I said to myself, “No way, this is wrong!”
But then I read it again, and again, and again. Until it made sense. And here’s how it works...
When the contestant first chose a door, he had a ⅓ chance of being right. Next, the game show hosts opens one of the doors, revealing a goat behind it. Then the game show host asks the contestant if they want to change their choice. The correct answer is yes, because now, they have a ⅔ chance of guessing correctly. In other words, the probability went up. By eliminating a wrong choice, they’ve increased their odds of guessing correctly.
I call this, “Addition by Subtraction.” By subtracting wrong answers, you add to the probability of getting a right answer. And remember, when guessing, it all comes down to probability.
This strategy gives you a secret behind the best test-takers in the world. Take a ACT or SAT exam problem where you aren’t 100% sure. So, you have to guess. You see, most people try to immediately guess their favorite letter, or find a random guessing pattern based on the last few answers.
The elite test takers are a different breed. Instead of looking for what may be right, they eliminate what is surely wrong. What they do is, try to find answers which could never be correct. They want to eliminate choices first, just like the Monty Hall game show problem. And by doing so, they increase their probability of guessing right, since they’ve eliminated choices.
Eliminating choices gives you two more benefits, vital in your journey to conquering the ACT and SAT exams…
If the answer can be plugged in and tested, less potential answers mean faster testing times. And time savings on a college exam is equivalent to oxygen. Without oxygen, you won’t survive. And without enough time you’re doomed on a college exam. By reducing choices on guesses, we add more time by making the guessing process easier. Addition by Subtraction!
Another benefit from reducing potential answers by elimination...the tax on your brain. Science has a theory called cognitive load. It deals with the tax on your brain when learning or solving a problem. And part of cognitive load is something called “problem space.” The "problem space" is the gap between the current situation and the desired goal. If this is too large, people's working memory becomes overloaded.
Reducing choices helps reduce the problem space and lightens the cognitive load, leaving you with more brain power and energy. Once again, by eliminating choices, you gain brain power you would’ve have lost on additional decisions. Addition by Subtraction!
Let’s review a recipe for guessing when you aren’t sure of the answer:
Here’s a quick example: A problem on the ACT asks for a natural number which is the square root of a positive number. You’re given 4 choices. One of them is a negative number. Elite test takers know, the square root of a positive number which must be natural is a positive number. So immediately, they eliminate the negative answer. On a 4 choice multiple choice question, they’ve just increased their odds of guessing right from ¼, or 25% to ⅓, or 33%. You see how powerful this strategy is?
How about this, a problem asks for you to identify a point in Quadrant I on a Cartesian Graph. Well, if you know basic information about a Cartesian Graph, you immediately know that both coordinates MUST be positive. So you scour through all the choices, and eliminate any answers with a negative sign. Using my 3-step guess recipe I mentioned, we reduced our answers choices by eliminating what the answer is NOT!
Let’s look at a few probability examples, using the power of the example from the Let’s Make a Deal game show.
Look for answers to remove first. If something seems even a bit out of place, eliminate the answer choice.
Eliminate 1-2 choices, your probability goes up from 1 out of 4 or 1 out of 5 to 2 out of 4, 3 out of 4, 1 out of 2.
Let’s review probabilities for a 4 option multiple choice question:
What about a 5 option multiple choice question?
It gets better when you compound multiple guesses: Let’s say you have a 20 question multiple choice exam. Each problem has 4 choices.
Your expected score is 20 questions * ¼ probability of getting each question right for an expected score of 5
Now, let’s say on those same 20 guessing problems, you first eliminated at least 1 choice: Your new expected score is 20 questions * ⅓ probability of getting each question right for an expected score of 6.67. That’s another 1.67 points on your exam.
And sometimes, a few points means the difference between passing and failing an exam. Sometimes, a few points means the difference between being good, and being great. And remember, higher test scores make you stand out to colleges.
Translated, you’ve increased your chances by over 4 times you get all of them right!
The key lesson here if and when you need to guess is, eliminate obvious wrong answers, or impossible answers. Embrace Addition By Subtraction.
There you have it...Addition By Subtraction, and the power of probability. By eliminating choices in an exam, you increase your exam scores, save brain power, and reduce stress. Work smarter, not harder.
And if you’re a parent of a student who’ll be going to college, I’ve got a free offer for you…
I’ve put together a free training. It’s designed to simplify the college prep process, by putting more financial aid in your pocket. Why am I doing this? Because I know how much work it is to prepare for college. And I want to help you make the process easier. The free training is at cpcshow.com. That’s c-p-c-show.com.
I’ve put this together because if you like what I’ve given you on the podcast and the training, then maybe you’ll want to work with my team in the future on a full college prep package. And if not, that’s fine too. But I want you to get more secrets of college prep at the free training, at cpcshow.com. Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode.