Effective Strategies for Multiple Choice Tests

Testing and scoring well on tests is an important part of the education system. Each type of testing has its own characteristics and advantages. This article will explore some tips and strategies to help students do their best when taking a multiple choice examination.

Study for the test
Nothing is better than simply knowing the material.  Study for the test and be prepared for the questions. Read through all the notes. Review any quizzes on the material. If there is any confusion don’t hesitate to read the text book chapter again. Meet with a study group if that is helpful.

Understand the parameters of the test
It is important to know if guessing on a question will be penalized. While this is not the norm, if there is a penalty then the strategy must change. If the test is timed then this will play into test taking strategies as well.  If there is no penalty for guessing – use guessing strategies.

Always cover up the answers
When reading the question use your hand to cover up the answers. Do not remove your hand until you have thought of the answer and simply identify the correct one. If the answer does not come to you in less than a minute move on to the next question. Return to this question later and apply other strategies.

Check the grammar
Sometimes teachers give the answer away with the grammar they use. For example, if the last word on the question is “an” the answer should begin with a vowel.

Mark the answers you know to be false
If it is allowed on the test, make a mark by the answers you know to be wrong. This will narrow down the choices.

Positive choices
Typically a positive choice is more likely to be correct than a negative choice.

Unfamiliar words
If all the words in an answer are completely unfamiliar eliminate that as an answer.

All of the above
If two of the options are correct, the answer is most likely all of the above.

Look for hints
Often times there are hints in the stem (or beginning portion of the question).  Read the question a second time and look for those hints.

Look for the best answer
With multiple choice questions, if none of the answers seem like the exact answer, go with the one that seems to be the best answer.

Again, it is important to remember that nothing replaces a student who has studied and is well prepared.