Three Book Tests + Hollow

Book tests are a favourite among mentalists, and for a teacher they’re a great way of getting children into the library. Basically your student chooses a word on a page of a book and you guess what that word is.

We will use three different “Book Test” effects to introduce the concept of forcing, which we will see in the next video, as well as the swap-box, which we will see how to make in the video “how to make your own swap-box“. But this chapter also includes the trick “Hollow” which is another “book test” effect, but which uses a completely different method to guess the word.

      • Read your students’ minds or make a prediction.
      • Lots of opportunities to engage with your pupils.
      • Skills: Listening & reading
      • For promoting reading.

Three Book Tests – Demonstration & Explanation

The secret to the first book test is that we use a swap box (we will see how a swap-box works in the chapter “how to make your own swap-box“); although the students believe that they are choosing the page number, the line number and the word number, they actually have no control whatsoever.

The second book test is so simple you will kick yourself if you don’t see it. Again, the students believe they have control over what page is chosen, but you’re actually just forcing it on them.

The third book test is a little bit more elaborate, but much much more effective:

      • Your volunteer can choose the book that he wants to use.
      • Your volunteer chooses the page that he wants to use.
      • Your volunteer chooses which part of the page he wants to choose the word from and finally…
      • Your volunteer chooses a word from a selection of 5 or 6.

Does your volunteer actually have any influence over the end-result? No! It doesn’t matter what book he chooses, it doesn’t matter what page he chooses, and it doesn’t matter what word he chooses… you will correctly predict whatever word he selects because you’ve forced it on him.

You can see each of the effects and their explanations, as well as an alternative forcing technique for the first effect, in the video below:


More Videos

Because of the immense popularity of book tests in magic and mentalism, there are many different examples and versions of this trick, and a simple google or youtube search will return millions of results. Below I’ve included links to two book tests; one includes a mathematical force and another includes a card force. There’s another trick based on a different card force and an example of a switch-box routine.

Hollow – Demonstration & Explanation

Hollow is another book test with a slightly different technique… watch the video below and try to figure out how I was able to guess what word my student had chosen:


Think-a-bit tip: When you do a book test, don’t use any old book. Use your class text book! Use this trick to repeat contents from your syllabus.


Next, “Forcing” >>