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Taking Multiple Choice Tests

Here is a plan of attack for multiple choice tests:

  • ALWAYS read the directions carefully. Don’t assume too much.
  • Round 1 - Go through all of the questions once - Answer only the ones that you know with 100 percent certainty. Go back to the others later.
  • Round 2 – For the questions that you are not so sure about:
  1. Cover the answers.
  2. Read the question carefully. Circle or highlight key words in the question.
  3. Pay attention to negatives (such as not or never)
  4. Try to RECALL the answer as if this were not a multiple-choice test. Then go and pick the answer from the choices that is matches most closely the recall answer you developed.
  • Round 3 – Make an educated guess for the questions that are left.

Additional Advice

  • Going through the test once often sparks things in your memory that can help you answer other questions.
  • Cover the answer choices, read the stem (the question) and try to think of an answer.
  • Some of the answer choices may be similar – your job is to select the one that BEST answers the question.
  • Eliminate answer choices you know are incorrect.

What if you need to guess?

  1. Look at the length of the choices – they can be a clue. Choose the longest.
  2. The most general alternative is usually the right answer.
  3. If two choices are similar, choose neither.
  4. Question answer choices you observe to be grammatically incorrect.
  5. If it is totally unfamiliar to you, then chances are it is incorrect.
  6. If the answer choices are numbers: throw out the high and low numbers and concentrate on the midrange numbers.
  7. If two answers are the opposite of each other - chances are one of them is correct.
  8. If two answers “look alike” – one of them is probably right.
  9. If two answers seem correct - compare for differences and refer to the stem.