Trusting Your Gut on a Test a Good Strategy?
trusting your gut, exam strategy, dental hygiene exam prep

Trusting Your Gut on a Test a Good Strategy?

You’ve heard the advice that trusting your gut on a multiple choice test is the absolute best way to go. Is this a good strategy for the dental hygiene exams?

You are sitting in the radiology final exam at your dental hygiene program you will graduate in one year. For questions #13, you stuck between answer choice A and B. You select A, and then changed the answer to B. When the test comes back, “Whammo!” You’ve realized you’ve made a huge mistake. You should have been trusting your gut because answer choice A was actually right!

There are actually times when trusting your instincts is the appropriate strategy. Here are a couple of those instances:

multiple choice, exam strategy, dental hygiene exam prep
  1. You studied: And I don’t mean just cramming for the test. You put in the necessary study time, thoughtfully and purposefully learning the material so you know it inside and out. Want to study with StudentRDH?
  2. You strategized: When you were reading through the test question, you utilized the process of elimination to leave only the two most correct choices.

Why to trust your gut in those instances? Your unconscious mind is powerful. It is there all the time, whenever you see/hear/read/touch/smell something. For instance, you heard that new song on the radio. Even if you did not pay much attention, you may be able to “remember” part of the song. The same thing happens when you study. The information get “stored” in your subconscious. So when you see the question, the information is pull out without even you noticing that.

But here are instances that CANNOT trust your guts and change you answer:

  1. You discovered new info: As you were taking the test, you ran across a question that related to the one you were stuck on, and it offers different information than the answer you selected. This extra clue can be very important and actually make you realize something you didn’t.
  2. You were careless: If you have extra time, go back through the all exam questions. If you see that you misread a word (e.g., you read the word hypertension incorrectly to hypotension) then yes you should change your answer.

Trusting Your Gut – Good or Bad?

When it comes down to it, it’s typically good testing behavior to adhere to trusting your gut philosophy as long as you’ve been a great test-taker by preparing yourself well for the exam and employing good testing strategies.

With StudentRDH, you can see green checkmarks next to topics. If all the topics are marked with this green sign and the progress bar is at 100% (or almost 100%), you know you studied hard. So in this case, YES, trust your guts!

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Feel free to ask me anything about the dental hygiene board exams. I personally mentor StudentRDH users.

(Disclaimer: StudentRDH is NOT affiliated with the NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, CDCA, WREB.)

Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS

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