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An Interesting Approach to 'Blind Guessing'

By  May 5, 2008

Topics: Certification

As an IT certification candidate, one important fact that you need to consider is that most, if not all, IT certification exams grade you only on the number of correct answers that you provide to the exam engine. That is, you should never (I repeat: never) leave questions unanswered in your certification exams.

The reason for my suggestion is simple enough: as far as the exam grading engine is concerned, blank responses are always evaluated as being incorrect. On the other hand, if you make a blind guess on a question with four possible answer choices, then your probability of having answered the item correctly rises from 0 percent to 25 percent. "You gotta play to win," and all that rot.

Therefore, the question is introduced: What should you do if you are utterly flummoxed by an exam item, and must undertake a blind guess?

Please don't scoff at this potential conundrum. You might very well find yourself having to make blind guesses on a certification exam if you managed your time poorly and the exam timer is preparing to expire.

A few weeks ago one of my students gave me an excellent, hassle-free strategy for undertaking 'random' guesses. According to my student, whenever he found himself in the unfortunate situation of having to make a blind guess on a certification exam, he turned to his watch for assistance.

Yes, you read that correctly, friends: his analog wristwatch. Here's the technique: Assuming that the IT certification exam question is of the multiple-choice variety and it includes four answer choices, you can use the current position of your watch's second hand as an indicator value.

That is to say:

  • Second hand between 12:00 and 3:00 ==> Choice A
  • Second hand between 3:00 and 6:00 ==> Choice B
  • Second hand between 6:00 and 9:00 ==> Choice C
  • Second hand between 9:00 and 12:00 ==> Choice D

Hey, whatever works, right? Let's face it: some of us over-analytical IT geeks can complicate an anvil. Therefore, at times it is helpful to have an easy-to-implement, 'no-brainer' methodology to help us through those little trouble spots in which we find ourselves occasionally.

Happy test-taking!

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