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Andrei in the office

lordandrei

Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness


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Andrei in the office
lordandrei

For the love of standardized testing... learn people!

When I was in high school, I did very well on the SAT.

I unfortunately did well because the questions were 'coded'.

What this meant was that you could solve some style of questions without knowing the answer.

Here's an example I came across tonight on facebook:

In Stargate-SG1, What was the SGC designation for the Goa'uld homeworld?

  • P3X-932
  • P3X-888
  • P3Z-888
  • P6Y-888


I have no idea what the answer is. But I can guess it.

Below the cut is why I guessed it and how to get this type of question right almost every time.

P3X-888? I did.

The answer has two parts on either side of the hyphen.

Your left choices are: P3X, P3Z, and P6Y
Your right choices are: 932 and 888.

So we count up how many times a choice was offered in the answers:

P3X: 2 (a & b), P3Z: 1 (c) P6Y: 1 (d)
932: 1 (a), 888: 3 (b, c, and d)

If we select our winners we get:
P3X-888 (answer 2)

This will almost always work.

The way you often see these questions is as follows:

Gurgee Hinken clurbled his mro-ofic nogrisen. Torby wouldn't so he Groglegged the movbane.

I) No movbane would ever be clurbled
II) Nogrisen should only be grogleged after dark
III) Spain is where the rain falls

a) I is correct
b) III is correct
c) I & II is correct
d) II & III is correct
e) I & III is correct

Depsite this all being gibberish... the answer is obvious using the method above.

You just need to keep score:
Rule I: 3 votes (a, c, e)
Rule II: 2 votes (c, d)
Rule III: 3 votes (b, d, e)

Since I & III tie with the most votes: the answer must be (e)

Note: if (d) was I, II, & III are correct then the correct choice would have been (a)

Edit: Change count of Rule II usage thanks to amythyst who counts better than I do :)

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There was a second level to those questions as well, which were more about reasoning through the set of answers. For example, if we change your second example:

Gurgee Hinken clurbled his mro-ofic nogrisen. Torby wouldn't so he Groglegged the movbane.

I) No movbane would ever be clurbled
II) Movbanes are always clurbled
III) Spain is where the rain falls

a) I is correct
b) III is correct
c) I & II is correct
d) II & III is correct
e) I & III is correct


If we know III is wrong, then we can immediately reduce the number of possible correct answers to (a) and (c), since (b), (d) and (e) all contain III.

Now look at I and II. They're exact opposites--which means (c) cannot be true--because I & II cannot be both correct if they're exact opposites.

So based on one "fact" and one observation, we've eliminated all the possible answers except (a).


This is how I got through the vast majority of questions I didn't know in the SATs and other multiple choice questions: if I could reasonably guess at one piece of the puzzle, I could easily get an answer without knowing squat.


Having been on several committees to design and create these types of tests, it is well known that it is almost impossible to not give the answer away to someone who is truly logical and intuitive in their thought processes... However, as you are aware, *most* of our species is neither ;>

Correction:

Rule II has 2 votes (c and d).

really good catch. This is why I didn't do as well on the verbal SAT as I would have wished. I'll edit the post.

Ha ha, this is awesome.

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