50|50

50|50 is a multiple choice test taking strategy that works well for the TOEFL test.  It is not 100% effective, and sometimes it can be misleading, but I have found this to be effective more often than not.  50|50 consists of eliminating 2 of 4 answer choices, so that you have a 50|50 chance of getting the answer right, instead of 25% chance.  How do you employ the 50|50 test-taking strategy?

Usually on a multiple-choice test, test makers make two answers somewhat similar in order to confuse the student.  However, one of those choices is usually the correct answer.  You job is to identify which two answers are similar.

One way an answer can be similar to another is to use the same words in both choices.  For example, look at the following choices for a consultation between a student and administrator about campus parking:

a) the student wants to buy another parking sticker

b) the student needs to pay a parking ticket

c) the student would like to get a credit card.

d) the student is trying to buy her first parking sticker

Do you see any similar words in these answer choices besides student?  You may say that parking is used in 3 of the choices, A, B & D.  So, eliminate choice C.  Now, both A & D have parking sticker.  So, eliminate choice B.  Now you are left between A & D, a 50|50 shot at getting the answer right.

Another way to find a 50|50 is to look for answers that are the opposite of each other and eliminate the others.  For example, look at the following choices for a consultation between a student and advisor about a math placement test.

a) it is difficult

b) it is required for all students

c) the advisor does not recommend it

d) not all students take it

Choices B & D present themselves as opposites.  B states that the test is requires.  D suggests that the test is optional.  Therefore, I eliminate A & C, and choose between B & D.

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