How to Guess & Reduce Negative Marks [Steps to follow]

Negative marks in common bank exam can create a sense of tension especially with new rules.Earlier, english test was deemed only for qualifying purposes but now it has become a scoring subject with every answer carrying  1 mark.What this means is - the marks of this section will also be added to the final score. 


On our facebook page, we ran a poll about negative marks.The results were

negative marks poll results

  • 65% of candidates chose to leave all unknown questions
  • 25% said they will decide after looking into the paper.
  • 5% wanted to run through all.

Leave & Lose: The 65% of those who intend not to touch the unknown question are the biggest losers here.By fixing your mind not to attend such questions, the chances of improving your score is very low.What should these people do?


Three strategies based on a person`s capability could be employed in a test which threatens with negative marks.They are:

  1. No risk
  2. High risk
  3. Calculative risk

Now, lets us see each of the approaches in detail


No risk: In this approach, you are not interested to take any risk in trying to answer the unknown questions.The fear of losing marks haunts you more.

  • Leaving 4-5 questions wont matter, but not attending 30-40 can hurt you.
  • Since you are not willing to take risks,you are losing an opportunity to increase the scores.So following this approach is not good.

High risk: This involves taking the risk by the throat.You are not bothered about the negative marks but rather look at the marks incase most of the guessed answers are correct.The probability of failure is high, as the success.

Incase there are 50 questions that you don't know but plan to guess all.

With all of them turning out to be wrong – you will lose 12 marks!

So, this strategy will also not work as choosing answers blindly just for the sake of attending all the questions will only reduce more marks.


Calculative risk: Most experts & coaching institutes recommend this method for competitive exams wherein you take some risk by guessing answers for few questions.For this, you must be sure of the choices made so far are correct. Only then it would be possible to calculate the amount of risk to take.


For example, lets say you are not confident enough to answer 50 questions.

As per the common clerk exam pattern, you will lose 50 marks of 250 which is definitely huge.The total would be 200 marks.

What if you try guessing the answer for atleast 40 questions.

If 20 are correct & rest are incorrect, you would gain 15 marks (20-5) which pushes your total score to 215 marks!

By calculating the risks involved, you have increased the score & this will surely help in ranking, considering the high number of candidates.


There are also certain things to be kept in mind,

  • Don't make random guesses.If you have some knowledge of that subject & can relate the question to the closest choice, then go ahead.
  • Do not waste time in thinking about the right answer.Do it or move on & return at last.Time allocation is more important

The main reason why we favor calculative risk is – although the negative mark is 0.25, you will be awarded 1 mark for correct choices.


So what is you approach? Share it as comments below,

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