posted by dave on Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 12:27 AM in category daily

My experience with tests has always been like that of most people, I imagine.

I'll answer all of the questions, and there'll be a certain percentage that I know I've answered correctly. The rest of the questions I'll either think I got right, or hope I got right.

In most cases, because I'm not particularly stupid, the number which I know I've answered correctly is pretty high. Then anything else is just icing on the cake.

Even on those tests that have been especially hard, I might know for sure that I've answered, say, fifty percent of the questions correctly. In those cases, I can use simple math to keep my optimism up.

Like, say it's a multiple-choice test with four options per question. I get fifty percent right because I know the answers. Pure blind random luck should ensure that I answer twenty-five percent of the remaining questions correctly. So that's sixty-two and a half percent, and that's still not great. But because I'm usually not a total idiot, let's say I can narrow my choices down to two out of the four. Then random luck should get me fifty percent of those remaining answers. That's seventy-five percent, and I can certainly live with that. And of course the fact that I'm not really relying on random luck makes my actual score even higher.

So I took this practice test last night. It consisted of forty multiple-choice questions with four options for each question. I took the test, and I counted the number of questions which I knew, without a doubt, that I'd answered correctly.

The counting didn't take very long.


There were two questions out of forty that I knew I'd nailed.

The answers were in the back of the test. I got thirty-four correct. A passing score was twenty-six.

So apparently my knowledge of the subject is decent, but my confidence in that knowledge sucks big ones.

Today was the real test. It was also forty questions, with four options per question.

I know that I nailed a whopping ten of the answers.

Pure blind random luck would get me to seventeen and a half correct. Narrowing my choices down to two would get me to twenty-five. The fact that I'm not really relying on luck should get me over twenty-six so I pass.

This was a hard class, and it was a hard test. I'm not especially worried, but I'm not especially confident either. And I'm definitely glad that it's over.

comments (2)

It actually shocks the hell outta me that YOU would not ace any test that you take.

Thanks, but as senility set in I find that something something...

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