Your ability to distinguish a fact from an opinion is often tested in exams. Opinions in particular, often appear as distracters in international exams such as Cambridge IELTS, FCE and CAE. “Distracters” are the incorrect answers presented as a choice in multiple-choice questions. But what makes a distractor seem like the correct answer? We will find out about it shortly. But first, let’s examine a sample question. This will help you understand distractors better and learn to eliminate them so that you can score higher in your exams.
Look at the following extract:
“All the students sat an important English exam on Friday morning. Fernando found the exam very difficult. He didn’t have much time to prepare for it and he failed the exam.”
Now decide which of the following statement(s) are true:
1- Fernando’s English is terrible.
2- Fernando knew some of the answers to the questions.
3- Fernando hoped to pass the exam.
4- Fernando had much difficulty with the exam.
Please take a few moments and choose your answers as if you were in a real exam.
Did you choose anything other than number 4? You would be surprised how so many learners tick the statement 1, 2 and 3 as true. But these are all distracters. Let’s find out why.