For Practice Tests, It’s the Struggle that Matters

Hello! If you came here from a QR Code or Link in one of our practice exams feel free to say hello and leave your mark on the page. We place QR Codes in intentionally difficult problem areas to bring people here so we can discuss why we intentionally made a few problems near impossible to answer and how struggling can help your growth as a Student.

Alright, let’s get to struggling then with an easy example. Here is a question that may appear on a COGAT practice tests. In this example you need to determine the proper transformation. The top left box transforms into the top right box and you predict what is the bottom left box transforms into:

The red triangle rotates right and turns blue. What happens to the red rectangle? Same thing should happen except there isn’t a blue rectangle rotated right. Now we enter the struggle zone!

A part of our method and one of the big goals is for the student to be able to select an appropriate method for solving a problem. To say differently, to be able to apply critical thinking. There isn’t a red rectangle that is rotated so do we just guess? Let’s unpack the answers and see what they can tell us. Answer A has a red rectangle that rotates right. This is the right answer if the transformation is only concerned about rotating the shape.

Answer B is a Triangle rotated right and is blue. This is the right answer if the transformation turns 100% of shapes no matter their color into a blue triangle that is pointing to the right. (not likely). Answer C is a blue rectangle in the same orientation. This is the right answer is the transformation is only concerned about color. Answer D looks to be totally off and lets not talk about it.

From the answers given we may say that it is a toss up between A and C. We can again guess… or we can look one more time. A says ‘rotation is most important’ C says ‘color is most important’ for my money C is the right answer, COGATs and NNAT2 and OLSAT exams are in full color and they make a point of having questions based on color.

Thats just me. I wouldn’t expect a student to dig that deep. What we can expect during training sessions with students is to ask them a question like this. Let them chew through their decision making criteria and make a selection. Then ASK them why they chose it. Ask them if they considered the alternatives. Make sure they know you aren’t playing a riddle game of “What have I got in my pocket?” but trying to expand how they thing about problems and their solution space.

For further training in logic, consult this video.