Debunking the Theory of Deza: Why the Longest Answer Isn’t Always Right

An abstract representation of debunking a myth in an academic setting without any textual elements. The image features a shattered glass metaphor, symbolizing the breaking of misconceptions. The background is a blend of soft, academic-themed colors like deep blues and ivories, suggesting a calm, scholarly atmosphere. This visual metaphor is intended to represent the dispelling of the Theory of Deza, a concept in test-taking that claims the longest answer is usually correct. The image should convey a sense of clarity and enlightenment.

Named after Christian Deza, a computer engineering student who observed a peculiar pattern during his studies, the Theory of Deza suggests that the longest answer on a multiple-choice exam is usually the correct one. This article aims to critically evaluate and debunk this theory using a specific case from a numerical methods exam.


The Theory of Deza gained some traction among students as a potential test-taking shortcut, appealing because it seemed to offer a simple key to handling daunting multiple-choice exams. However, without substantial empirical backing, its reliability remains questionable.


Empirical Evidence

In a detailed analysis of a numerical methods exam, renowned for its rigorous and precise content, it was found that the longest answer was the correct choice in only 10% of the cases, or specifically, only 1 out of every 10 questions. This statistic significantly undermines the validity of the Theory of Deza, showing that, at least in this context, the longest answer is rarely the right one.

Logical Assessment

Engr. June Vergel Querol emphasizes, “A test’s integrity is paramount; it’s designed to assess a student’s understanding and ability to apply knowledge, not their capacity to recognize patterns in answer length.”


Christian Deza himself reflects on his initial observation: “It was an interesting pattern I noticed during my exams, but it clearly does not hold universally. Students should focus on understanding the material rather than looking for shortcuts.”

Consequences of Reliance on the Theory

Relying on the Theory of Deza can significantly affect student performance on exams. Analysis of scores from a numerical methods exam shows a broad range of outcomes that suggest different levels of preparation and strategy. Specifically, scores in the lower ranges, such as the low to mid-teens (around 13 to 15), align with what would be expected from random guessing. This suggests that students in this score range may have either guessed throughout the exam, were less prepared, or relied on the Theory of Deza by choosing the longest answers without a solid understanding of the material. Meanwhile, middle score ranges, such as the low to mid-20s, likely represent a mix of partial knowledge, guessing, or reliance on the Theory of Deza. These observations indicate that students who depend on the Theory of Deza instead of engaging deeply with the study material may end up underperforming, thereby risking their overall academic performance and mastery of the subject matter. Such a pattern highlights the dangers of adopting unproven strategies over genuine study and comprehension.

Alternative Strategies

To better approach multiple-choice questions, experts recommend:

  • Analytical Reasoning: Focus on the content and logic behind the questions.
  • Elimination Techniques: Discard obviously incorrect answers to increase the chances of selecting the correct one.
  • Thorough Preparation: Deeply engage with the study material to build a solid understanding and confidence.

The detailed examination of the numerical methods exam clearly demonstrates that the Theory of Deza does not reliably predict the correct answers on multiple-choice tests. Students are advised against relying on such shortcuts and encouraged to invest in robust learning methods.

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