Many test takers tend to stick their first answer to a multiple choice GRE question. While this might not come as a surprise, a new research published this year has indicated that students who thoughtfully changed their answer choices actually managed to boost their scores.
In fact, the choice to change option is extremely popular among test takers. Close to 95% of GRE takers exercised this option in the verbal and/or quantitative section and saw improved scores. This feature was introduced in 2011.
Students who changed their answer in the quantitative section improved their scores by 83%. The corresponding numbers for verbal were lower at 68%. As a result, the obvious gain on quant scores was 4.7 points while verbal scores saw a gain of 3 points.
This even applies to test takers who initially skipped a question and then came back to complete the question. The study dispels the long standing notion that the first instinct is usually right when it comes to multiple choice questions.
Of course, this does not mean that you should go on a answer-changing spree during your GRE. Think well before doing any such thing. Do not over analyse the question if you are fairly confident about it. If you want to check the best approach for yourself, use practice tests to the maximum. Keep a note on the questions and areas where you changed the answers and see the results. Depending on the findings from the practice test, you may come up with your own strategy regarding answer changes.
Of course, do not get bogged down by this feature. Change your score if you like, but only when you are sure that your first attempt might not be correct.
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