Multiple choice tests are very common, be it to get a driver's license or at the university and even when looking for a job. Therefore, they are an important skill. In theory, having to choose between four or five options seems easy, but, in reality, knowing how to discard the wrong answers and choose the correct ones is not that simple. They are not always questions. They can be sentences, incomplete sentences or problems to be solved. To this must be added the pressure of time, which makes the task even more difficult. To be successful on multiple choice tests, you have to know the academic syllabus and apply smart tactics and strategies. Learning certain tools and techniques will give you the confidence to succeed in multiple choice exams.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare for the Exam
Step 1. Take practice tests to learn how to organize your time
If you have an hour to take a thirty-question test, you know you would have to go for question 15 when there is half the time left. When you practice, recreate the test conditions as well as you can, without consulting books and without music or distractions.
- If you're having trouble with practice tests, talk to your teacher for tips on how to better manage your time.
- Take advantage of your teacher's knowledge and experience. They have years of experience and have seen people pass and fail. Ask them for advice and use their experience to your advantage.
- Multiple choice tests often include two very similar answers, so focus on studying the key concepts. Knowing how to study for a test will allow you to focus on what's important and study more efficiently.
- Plan your time to make sure you have enough time to review your answers and make sure you have correctly recorded them on the answer sheet.
Step 2. Decide what strategy to use when you don't know the answer
Is it better to leave a question blank or risk guessing the answer? The answer to this question is different depending on the case, since it depends on the rules of each test. In some tests, you can get more points for random answers if you answer correctly, but in others a point (or part of a point) can be deducted for each incorrect answer, so answering randomly is a bad idea because it can make your score. Making a decision in advance can save you time during the exam.
- Ask your teacher or those responsible for the exam what the scoring system is.
- Decide in advance for each specific exam and remember your strategy before you start.
- If a fraction of a point is taken from you on the test for each incorrect answer, but you get a full point for each correct answer, it may be a good idea to try to guess the answer, as long as you can rule out any of the options.
Step 3. Design an anxiety management plan
Recognize what tactics increase your confidence and what makes you lose focus. Knowing this will allow you to find and use the most appropriate relaxation techniques for you. Learning to manage anxiety is critical to being successful under test conditions.
- Use online resources to identify, manage, and reduce your stress levels to deal with test stress and reduce stress with exercise.
- Everyone has test anxiety, but if you don't learn to control it, you will have two problems instead of just one.
Part 2 of 3: Answer the Questions Strategically
Step 1. Read the question carefully
Once you start counting the time, it is very tempting to answer quickly, but investing the time necessary to correctly interpret each question is very important. This way you can really save time when it comes time to choose the correct answers. The questions contain a lot of information, so read them carefully. Try to think of the correct answer before looking at what options are offered.
- Do not read the answers as you read the question (cover them if necessary) so that you can think without being distracted.
- Read all the answers. Option B may be correct, but remember that perhaps all options are, so answer D ("all of the above") is correct.
Step 2. Save the tough questions for later
If you can't answer a question within the time limit you've calculated, go ahead and try again later. Mark the questions that you have not answered with a clear mark to make sure you detect them when you review the exam.
- It is convenient to be alert while you continue with the exam in case there are clues to answer the questions that you are not clear.
- Leave some time at the end of the test to go back to questions you were unsure of the answer to.
- Be sure to skip the question on the answer sheet as well, especially if you are answering on a spreadsheet. This way you will avoid answering a series of questions incorrectly because you have skipped one of the answer rows.
Step 3. Search the keywords
Write down or mark the most important words in the question. The choice of certain can be a very useful tool to find the correct answer. Look for those details in each of the multiple-choice questions. The correct answer has to fit all parts of the question, so pay attention to the use of negatives ("none", "no", "nor"), superlatives ("better", "greater"), and qualifiers (" usually "," often "," usually "," can ").
- Be careful with negative question statements, as they can confuse you when choosing the answer.
- Alternatives that use words like "no," "no," or "never" can turn a correct sentence into an incorrect one.
Step 4. Avoid extremes
Be careful with questions that contain absolutes ("always", "never", "all"). To be true, there must be no possibility of alternatives. Also pay attention to the "none of the above" or "all of the above" answers.
- If you know that there is more than one correct or incorrect answer, then the correct option is one of those two options ("none of the above" or "all of the above").
- If one of the options seems completely out of place, it may be because it is not correct.
Step 5. Pay attention to the answers whose grammar does not match that of the question
Discard any answer that doesn't fit. It is possible to find correct answers by looking at the verb tense and comparing it with that of the answers.
- If the question indicates that the answer must be in the gerund, but only one of the answers is in the gerund and the rest is in the participle, the answer in the gerund will be correct.
- If there is an article at the end of the question (the / them), the first word of the question must match that article in gender and number.
Step 6. Eliminate responses
Discard the answers that are obviously incorrect. Use logic to detect answers that do not make sense or do not answer the whole question. Narrowing the options down to two or three instead of four will improve your chances.
- Treat each answer as true or false. Discard the answers that are not true. For example, if you know that option D is not correct, cross it out.
- Look for partners. There may be two answers that are just the opposite of each other or two that are identical except for one word. It is a common tactic of examiners to differentiate those who really know the syllabus from those who have only a superficial knowledge of it. In these couples, it is possible that one of them is correct, while the other is simply trying to mislead.
Step 7. Consider using riskier strategies
There are many urban legends about tricks to pass the multiple choice exams. If you are going to take a risk, it is better to rely on studies on the probable statistical patterns in multiple choice exams.
- Try to select the longest answer, as it is more likely to be correct, as the teacher may have added qualifiers.
- Ignore the rule that the first option should never be changed. Use logic in each question to decide whether to change the answer or not.
Part 3 of 3: Review the exam
Step 1. Review the questions you have not answered
With the strategy in place to answer as many questions as possible, it is time to use the planned tactic. You have read all the information and can use this knowledge in the time you have to review the questions with a new perspective.
- Think about the other questions. You may have found clues or something that refreshed your memory as you read the other questions and answers.
- Apply the strategy you have chosen, leaving blank or answering the questions.
Step 2. Check your work
Be careful when filling in the answer sheet. Answering a question in the wrong box can have a domino effect, that is, not only will that answer be incorrect, but all the following ones. To avoid this, be sure to transfer all the answers to the answer sheet at the same time after you have finished answering questions.
Check that you have answered in the appropriate box. If you are leaving the answer blank, be sure to answer the next one in the correct box
Step 3. Erase any unwanted marks
Make sure to correctly erase any signs or notes that may confuse the person who will be evaluating the exam. If you are using a spreadsheet, be sure to fill in the circles correctly and thoroughly erase any wrong answers.
- Bring something to help you relax, be it an amulet, some water or some sweets. If something helps you, it can be very helpful.
- Wear comfortable clothing in several layers so you can put on or take off clothes as needed. Don't let that distract you or make you feel uncomfortable and focus on the test.
- When they distribute the exam, check that it is complete and that the instructions are clear. If you have doubts, ask.
- Funny or silly answers are often wrong.
- Take breaks. Stretch out, look out the window, or check the time. Taking a break will help you stay alert and watch the clock.
- Don't analyze too much. Try to find an answer at first glance. Remember that you know the correct answer.
- Don't be distracted by possible patterns in the answers (like five questions in a row where option C is correct), as you will start to think too much. It may not mean anything, so don't mind it.
- Don't spend too much time on a single question. There will be other questions where spending the time to eliminate possible wrong answers will pay off.
- Ignore myths like "yes or you know the answer, always choose between B and C". Although it is true that some examiners have a tendency to subconsciously hide the answer in the middle of the options, others will pay special attention to avoiding it.