New research finds GRE test takers who go back to their answers could perform better.The strategy for multiple-choice tests varies, depending the test taker. But if you’re the type of test taker who is willing to change your answer — instead of going with your first instinct — that strategy could pay off for you. If not,it may be time to give it a try.

Research released earlier this month finds that test takers on average gained scores when skipping or changing answers on multiple-choice questions in the GRE® revised General Test‘s Quantitative Reasoning (71.7 percent) and Verbal Reasoning (77.1 percent) sections.

Some test-takers believe that the original answer is more likely to be correct, but the ETS study shows that isn’t always the case. ETS, a Princeton, N.J.-based nonprofit that develops, administers, and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the GRE® tests, TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, and The Praxis Series™ assessments — studied more than 8,000 test takers from 37 countries.

Studying this test-taking strategy works in ETS’ favor as well. The GRE® revised General Test, which ETS launched in 2011, gives MBA and graduate school applicants the ability to mark questions in a section and change their answers, unlike other admissions tests for MBA and graduate school applicants.

Lydia Liu, senior research scientist at ETS, says in a press release:

“The results of this study disprove the fallacy that the first instinct is always correct when answering multiple-choice questions. Few people know that for about 80 years, research in this area has indicated the benefit of conscientious answer changing, yet the myth persists. It is important that students know that the research supports response changing when there is a good reason for doing so.”

Does this study give you more confidence that making changes to your answers could pay off, or are you still a believer that the original answer is the best way to go? Let us know in the comments section below.






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