This study examines “test-wiseness” rules-of-thumb accounting students may use when they cannot answer a multiple-choice question. The effectiveness of rules (whether students comprehend and exploit them) is poorly understood, but they rely largely on flaws in question design. After identifying 11 relevant rules, we first utilize graduate research assistants in an experiment to test the rules' efficacy. Participants successfully use three rules to answer questions on unfamiliar material and are able to discriminate as to the rules' usefulness. To assess general familiarity with and belief in the rules, we survey undergraduate accounting majors at two universities. They demonstrate well-formed ideas of the relative usefulness, which are strongly correlated between universities and moderately correlated with the experimental participants' beliefs. The results illuminate issues that question writers should consider, to avoid vulnerability to test-wiseness or even turn the rules to their advantage when composing questions.

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