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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:35 am 
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Hi, I have had mixed answers from other mums regarding this. When the child sits the test, how do you think they should handle answering questions they are unsure of, should they:

A - Keep trying to work out the answer until they get it right (not my choice tbh)
B - Move straight onto the next question, leaving it blank, then go back at the end of the test to try to answer, or if all else fails, make an educated guess, or
C - Move straight onto the next question but make the educated guess now just in case you don't have time to go back (leaving a mark by the question so they can go back at a glance to save time)

My guess is answer C, but would love to hear other peoples opinions.
I have said to my child to leave a mark next to the ones he has made the educated guess on so he know at a glance which ones he needs to go over at the end of the test.

Also, someone did mention to me, if they guess all the ones they don't know with the same answer, ie, all A's, they stand more chance of getting some right, not sure I agree with this, but inputs would be great, thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:53 am 
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susanass wrote:
Hi, I have had mixed answers from other mums regarding this. When the child sits the test, how do you think they should handle answering questions they are unsure of, should they:

A - Keep trying to work out the answer until they get it right (not my choice tbh)
B - Move straight onto the next question, leaving it blank, then go back at the end of the test to try to answer, or if all else fails, make an educated guess, or
C - Move straight onto the next question but make the educated guess now just in case you don't have time to go back (leaving a mark by the question so they can go back at a glance to save time)

My guess is answer C, but would love to hear other peoples opinions.
I have said to my child to leave a mark next to the ones he has made the educated guess on so he know at a glance which ones he needs to go over at the end of the test.



They should always guess and move on. This stops them wasting time (the exam last year was very time critical, particularly the maths) and also stops them from forgetting to come back and fill anything in later. It also means they wont risk filling all the following answers in in the wrong place on the grid (off by one question!) which has been known to happen.

They should also mark the question somehow on the question paper so it's easy to find if they have time to spare at the end.

susanass wrote:

Also, someone did mention to me, if they guess all the ones they don't know with the same answer, ie, all A's, they stand more chance of getting some right, not sure I agree with this, but inputs would be great, thanks.


There is no statistical advantage to choosing the same answer for the questions they don't know.


Good luck!


DaddyOh


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:14 am 
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DaddyOh wrote:
There is no statistical advantage to choosing the same answer for the questions they don't know.

From a purely mathematical point that's obviously correct - because the usual rules of probability apply.

However, if we assume that the correct answers are perfectly evenly distributed, so there as many As, Bs, Cs and Ds which are correct. Now let's imagine that the poor child has to guess every single question. If they guess the answers entirely randomly, the most likely outcome is that they'll be right 25% of the time. There's also a slim chance that by pure fluke they could guess 100% of them right, or indeed 0% of them right.

Alternatively, if they were to choose A in every case then (on this perfectly evenly distributed paper) they're guaranteed to get 25% of them right.

So on the one hand they've got a likely 25% (but a chance of anything between 0% and 100%), whilst on the other they've got a guaranteed 25%. So, is your child a gambler? :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:06 am 
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Thank you so much! That has helped me help him! So how long should they ponder over the question until they make the educated guess? Straight away or should they have a good go at each one?
My ds has questions he knows he can work out, but says are more time consuming, so could easily go over the 40 seconds time. Where as others he knows instantly. What should he do with the ones he has to think about, but knows he can do? Try to work them out knowing he is cutting into his time, or do the quick ones first and then go back to this one at the end? (leaving an educated guess of course in the meantime)
Just worried that he panics and thinks they will all take time so starts guessing due to worrying about timing. :? :?
This doesn't happen to him when he does it with me, but on the day, who know how they will react?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:13 am 
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Goodheart wrote:
DaddyOh wrote:
There is no statistical advantage to choosing the same answer for the questions they don't know.

From a purely mathematical point that's obviously correct - because the usual rules of probability apply.

However, if we assume that the correct answers are perfectly evenly distributed, so there as many As, Bs, Cs and Ds which are correct. Now let's imagine that the poor child has to guess every single question. If they guess the answers entirely randomly, the most likely outcome is that they'll be right 25% of the time. There's also a slim chance that by pure fluke they could guess 100% of them right, or indeed 0% of them right.

Alternatively, if they were to choose A in every case then (on this perfectly evenly distributed paper) they're guaranteed to get 25% of them right.

So on the one hand they've got a likely 25% (but a chance of anything between 0% and 100%), whilst on the other they've got a guaranteed 25%. So, is your child a gambler? :wink:



Unsurprisingly GL do not guarantee that the answers are evenly distributed, it's perfectly possible that they could set a paper where A was never the correct answer and it probably happens (or comes close to happening) far more often than you'd think if the correct answer is truly chosen at random.

People naturally underestimate the amount of clustering that occurs in truly random numbers and given the choice between a truly random distribution and a more evenly distributed pseudorandom distribution the majority of people when asked to pick the random distribution will pick the pseudorandom distribution instead. That's the error in our thinking that leads to the 'always pick C' rule that I'm sure we've all heard. Presumably there is some sort of evolutionary advantage to getting it wrong - but whatever the advantage may be I doubt it has anything to do with the Kent 11+ ;)


DaddyOh


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:22 am 
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susanass wrote:
Thank you so much! That has helped me help him! So how long should they ponder over the question until they make the educated guess? Straight away or should they have a good go at each one?
My ds has questions he knows he can work out, but says are more time consuming, so could easily go over the 40 seconds time. Where as others he knows instantly. What should he do with the ones he has to think about, but knows he can do? Try to work them out knowing he is cutting into his time, or do the quick ones first and then go back to this one at the end? (leaving an educated guess of course in the meantime)
Just worried that he panics and thinks they will all take time so starts guessing due to worrying about timing. :? :?
This doesn't happen to him when he does it with me, but on the day, who know how they will react?


My take is they should guess immediately if they don't understand the question at all, otherwise they should carry on but if it starts to take minutes or longer they should eliminate any obviously wrong answers on the question paper if possible (so they don't have to start their thinking from scratch if they get time to come back), mark the question in some way on the question paper and put an educated guess on the answer grid.

It's an especially tricky question since the changes in the papers last year as we no longer have an accurate idea how many questions there will be or how long the children will be given for each section but hopefully the timings will remain similar to the GL practice papers so that's the timing I'd try and get them used to.


DaddyOh


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:30 am 
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I should add that often if the question is taking a long time it means they have missed an obvious shortcut, for example:

76 * 21345 + 24 * 21345


not spotting that it's the same as 100 * 21345

Quite often they may spot the shortcut if they come back to the question later or you can get them to look carefully for shortcuts in anything they think will take a long time.



DaddyOh


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:32 am 
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Thank you. I think I am worrying about it more than him, but want to make sure we have covered everything before the day, thanks :) :)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:38 am 
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susanass wrote:
Thank you. I think I am worrying about it more than him, but want to make sure we have covered everything before the day, thanks :) :)


Ha yes - I know the feeling and all I could get out of my DC on the day was 'it was OK' :?


Good luck!


DaddyOh


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:41 am 
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I know! My dc seems to be so cool about it all...yet I am a nervous wreck! Hopefully they will all be as cool on the day! Thanks so much for your input, it has helped me greatly. Good luck also :D


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