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How to make guesswork less like guesswork

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How to make guesswork less like guesswork

Postby David Regal » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:55 am

I am unusually good at guessing the answers to higher level questions on WWTBAM. The reason has nothing to do with my level of general knowledge. It lies in my understanding of the people making the questions. In early questions one may not have known the answer but may get it right by reasoning why a certain choice should be the answer. The reason why people may guess wrong later is by using the same reasoning later on. This is a mistake. Obviously they don't want to make it easy to win a lot of money. The show relies on people's lack of observation by being tricky and coming up with one or more alternate answers which for a person who doesn't know the answer will seem like they should be right. To the person who doesn't know, one or more wrong answer has reasons why it could be right while the correct answer doesn't. People in the know could use their knowledge of the show to correctly guess answers they didn't know the answer to, but the players I've seen have been unobservant. Some million dollar questions are such that if I you didn't know the answer there's no way you could figure it out. Frequently, however, one can reason it out, even a person with poor general knowledge. With these questions the answer is always the one that an ordinary person would see as the least likely, the one that would seem the least likely. The strangest and most likely answer will be correct. As the value of the question goes down, one must make adjustments. The answer to a $32,000 question would be unlikely be the least likely looking answer. With the way they do things I would probably be more likely to guess the answer to a million dollar question than $16,000 or $32,000 question. To give an example of how I figure something out I'll take a million dollar question on the game the official site has. The question asks what the rock of Gibraltar is composed of. I didn't know the answer at the time but I chose limestone. It was the most unusual so I correctly picked it as the correct answer.
David Regal
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:04 pm

Postby primalscreamtherapy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:14 am

I have mild ADD so it's hard for me to read a block of text like that. Please use paragraphs next time.

You've just decoded why I do unusually well at multiple-choice tests. Because I know the makers of the test, the answers are not very difficult even if I know nothing about the material. This depends on the questions being sufficiently different from one another - a physics test would hardly be very guessable given no knowledge of the material and a choice between 7, 8, 9, and 10 pounds/square inch.

This guessability is intentional - television shows are more addictive and watchable when you have a chance of getting answers right even with little familiarity with the source material. Some answers just "feel" right.

I've found that knowing something about the creators of the quiz is helpful - I recently took an online quiz and failed miserably because I kept expecting the answers to be sneakier and tricker than they were. They weren't - just uncreative.

It was an independent quiz.
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Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:11 am

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