Most of us have heard from one teacher or another that your first guess on a multiple choice questions is usually correct. The implication being that we shouldn't double guess our instincts when taking tests. However, I have often realized I got an answer incorrect earlier and gone back and changed it, only to feel mildly guilty or worried that I wasn't going with my "usually correct" first answer.

The Question: On multiple choice questions, is changing your answer to a question more likely to result in an incorrect answer than leaving it as you originally guessed?

(P.S. - For comments, do people agree with my interpretation of the claim, or do other people feel a different interpretation is correct?)

• I'm sure some would debate that it depends on how much the person taking the test has studied in the first place, but I have often wondered about this. Excellent question. – Monkey Tuesday Aug 22 '11 at 20:57
• I don't think that you have an instinct, which is a kind of behavior you have from birth, where to put a mark in a multiple choice test. Multiple choice tests are a cultural invention. I guess you mean spontaneous, fast or just first. – user unknown Aug 23 '11 at 1:46
• In most tests, you need to answer much more than 50% correctly, to succeed, and given some time pressure, you will only succeed, if most of your first answers are correct. That might lead to the wrong assumption, that most fast answers are correct, independent of doubts you have. Of course, you will only have a second idea, if you have doubts and aren't so sure, and some of them might be wrong, and more often, than questions, where you only thought you know for sure. – user unknown Aug 23 '11 at 1:57
• I was taught to answer the questions I absolutely knew the answers to first, skip the doubtful ones, then go back after doing that to ponder the unanswered ones and attempt the correct answer, my grades came up using this method. – Moab Aug 24 '11 at 1:30