Yet another question

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Jun 19, 2006
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In some practice math questions from third party sources, I notice that I can very quickly get the answer without doing an entire multiplication. Say, I know that the last digit is eight and only one ends with an eight, then that must be the right answer.

That's just one example of many shortcuts... Estimation of an answer also seems to work for these problems.

Now, my question is this: Is the PCAT designed to prevent quick shortcutting? Would I see answer choices that are very close or are they generally far enough apart to allow it?

Would I see something like this:

A) 172.50
B) 175.50
C) 182.50
D) 185.50

Or would I see a very tight choice of answers:

A) 172.53
B) 172.57
C) 173.53
D) 173.57

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If you become good at math where you know what type of answer to expect, the process of elimination can still be an effective tool for eliminating answers. For example, it's easy to eliminate answers to a derivative or integral problem if you know the basic terms that should be in the answer.

As for your example, the PCAT is more likely to have wrong answers that corresponds to missing a key component of the question and/or making a common miscalculation in a step somewhere. However, I do remember problems like you suggested where I eliminated answers simply because I knew it couldn't be right like your example. There aren't a whole lot of questions where you have to multiple obscene numbers with decimals, but you strategy works for algebra, area/volume, calc questions too.
yeah, i agree w/ omnione. i think a lot of the wrong answers are the numbers you would get if you made a common mistake in working out the problem. trickyyy.