Multiple Choice Tests
This week one of my students asked me for tips on taking multiple choice tests, so this blog explains a few techniques and tips.
First of all, know your material. This goes for all tests, assignments, writing projects, etc. Knowing the information as completely as you can will make any task easier. There is no such thing as a “pop quiz” if you have been studying and keeping up with the material!
Specifically for the test:
- Preview the test to see how many questions there are. (Don’t forget to check the back of the last sheet.)
- Pace yourself given the number of questions and the amount of time you have. You want to have enough time to complete the test and then proofread it again, if possible.
- Answer the easy questions first.It gives you a sense of confidence.Also, you might find answers, or information at least, that will help you with other questions.
- Read each question carefully, covering up or ignoring the answer choices. See if you can think of the correct answer before looking.
- Read all answers even if you see your anticipated response.
- Eliminate answers that are obviously incorrect. There are often at least two that don’t make any sense.
- Focus on the answers that you believe are possible.
- Choose the one that is the best answer.Sometimes there are answers that are correct but not the most correct!You want to choose the best answer which is the one that is most accurate and most completely responds to the question asked.
- Watch for absolute words such as “never” and “always.” These tend to be incorrect. At the very least, you need to give them a more careful assessment before choosing them.
(You see, this is incorrect. Even cool kids need sleep sometimes!)
- If the response says “all of the above,” check to see if more than one of the choices is correct. If there are two equally correct options, then this might be your best choice.
- If the response says “none of the above,” it is usually not the correct choice.But check carefully before rejecting it.
- Look for grammatical clues.The answer should fit grammatically with the question.If it does not, it probably is not the correct answer.
- Look for verbal connections.If the answer repeats words or phrases that are in the stem, it has a better chance of being correct.
If you are unsure:
- Usually the positive option is better than the negative one.
- Usually the longer (more information) answer is better because the teacher has provided necessary qualifying adjectives or phrases.
- Comical responses are usually wrong.
- Some feel that answers “b” and “c” are best choices if you are guessing because teachers feel these positions better hide the correct choice between “a” and “d.” Statistically “a” is generally the one with the fewest correct answers.
NOTE: Refer back to the beginning of this blog. Next time, make sure you know your material better! You should not have to guess.
- Be sure to answer all questions. This seems obvious; however, over the years, I have seen many students lose marks because they forgot to answer questions. If you have skipped over questions, make sure you go back. As mentioned before, check the backs of pages to ensure you have seen all the test.
Above all, relax and do your best. After all, you cannot do better than your best!
I have faith in your ability to continue to improve.
For more tips and strategies here are some discount coupons to my study skills Udemy courses:
Study Skills – Become an A+ Student
Test & Exam Strategies
Video: Master Multiple Choice Tests