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# ASVAB Test Preparation for ASVAB Power Practice Study Guide (page 4)

By LearningExpress Editors
LearningExpress, LLC
Updated on Aug 12, 2011

### Step 5: Learn to Use the Process of Elimination

Time to complete: 20 minutes

Activity: Complete worksheet on Using the Process of Elimination

After time management, your next most important tool for taking control of your exam is using the process of elimination wisely. It's standard test-taking wisdom that you should always read all the answer choices before choosing your answer. This helps you find the right answer by eliminating wrong answer choices. And, sure enough, that standard wisdom applies to your exam, too.

You should always use the process of elimination on tough questions, even if the right answer jumps out at you. Sometimes the answer that jumps out isn't right after all. You should always proceed through the answer choices in order. You can start with answer choice a and eliminate any choices that are clearly incorrect.

Let's say you're facing a vocabulary question like this:

"Biology uses a binomial system of classification." In this sentence, the word binomial most nearly means

1. understanding the law.
2. having two names.
3. scientifically sound.
4. having a double meaning.

If you happen to know what binomial means, of course, you don't need to use the process of elimination, but let's assume you don't. So, you look at the answer choices. "Understanding the law" sure doesn't sound very likely for something having to do with biology. So you eliminate choice a—and now you only have three answer choices to deal with. Mark an X next to choice a so you never have to read it again.

Now, move on to the other answer choices. If you know that the prefix bi- means two, as in bicycle, you will flag answer b as a possible answer. Put a check mark beside it, meaning "good answer, I might use this one."

Choice c, "scientifically sound," is a possibility. At least it's about science, not law. It could work here, though when you think about it, having a "scientifically sound" classification system in a scientific field is kind of redundant. You remember the bi- in binomial, and probably continue to like answer b better. But you're not sure, so you put a question mark next to c, meaning "well, maybe."

Now, choice d, "having a double meaning." You're still keeping in mind that bi- means two, so this one looks possible at first. But then you look again at the sentence the word belongs in, and you think, "Why would biology want a system of classification that has two meanings? That wouldn't work very well!" If you're really taken with the idea that bi- means two, you might put a question mark here. But if you're feeling a little more confident, you'll put an X. You have already got a better answer picked out.

Now your question looks like this:

"Biology uses a binomial system of classification." In this sentence, the word binomial most nearly means
X a. understanding the law.
b. having two names.
? c. scientifically sound.
? d. having a double meaning.

You've got just one checkmark for a good answer. If you're pressed for time, you should simply mark answer b on your answer sheet. If you have the time to be extra careful, you could compare your checkmark answer to your question-mark answers to make sure that it's better. (It is: the binomial system in biology is the one that gives a two-part genus and species name like homo sapiens.)

It's good to have a system for marking good, bad, and maybe answers. Here's one recommendation:

= good
? = maybe

If you don't like these marks, devise your own system. Just make sure you do it long before test day—while you're working through the practice exams in this book—so you won't have to worry about it during the test.

Even when you think you are absolutely clueless about a question, you can often use the process of elimination to get rid of one answer choice. If so, you are better prepared to make an educated guess, as you will see in Step 6. More often, the process of elimination allows you to get down to only two possibly right answers. Then, you're in a strong position to guess. And sometimes, even though you don't know the right answer, you find it simply by getting rid of the wrong ones, as you did in the preceding example.

Try using your powers of elimination on the questions in the worksheet Using the Process of Elimination beginning on page 32. The answer explanations show one possible way you might use the process to arrive at the right answer.

The process of elimination is your tool for the next step, which is knowing when to guess.

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