What is a distractor?

The examiner is a cunning old beast

The questions that you will see at the State examination are deliberately worded to test both your core knowledge and comprehension of a vast array of subject matter

(I guess that’s why its not that easy to pass first time)

A distractor is an element in a question that has been deliberately placed there by the examiner to test your knowledge and comprehension on the subject.  If you don’t have mastery of the subject, this part of the question narrative will possibly cause you to select the wrong answer option

Here’s an example:

Sam sold his home for $225,000.  It was appraised for mortgage purposes at $230,000 and the assessed value is $175,000.  If the property tax rate is 26.5 mills, what is the annual property tax charge that will need to be apportioned at the closing?

A – $5,962.50

B – $6,095.00

C – $46,375.00

D – $4,637.50

This question actually has 2 distractors; if you know your real estate taxes they will be easy to spot

The sales price and the appraised value are distractors and have nothing to do with the calculation of property taxes.  The examiner has deliberately included these in the question to make sure that you know how the basis for calculating property taxes

(Of course you know that real estate taxes are based on assessed value…with that tip and your knowledge of how to use millage rates it should be easy to figure out the correct answer option)

So how do you deal with distractors?

You should read every question carefully to identify any distractors; eliminate the distractors from your thought process before selecting your answer

For more information on how to deal with exam questions have a look at Geoff’s 6 Steps