How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions: Strategies for Effective Test Taking
College and university entrance tests, final examinations, and ordinary classroom tests contain multiple-choice questions. Therefore, it is vital to know how to answer multiple-choice questions if you want to succeed in your tests. When it comes to tests, sometimes knowing the learned material and obtaining the necessary practical and writing skills is not enough to succeed. Often one needs to be well versed in the strategies of answering multiple-choice questions in order to answer them correctly. Since this type of questions is one of the most widespread, it is a good idea to know the secrets to taking multiple-choice tests.
Answering Multiple-Choice Questions: What Are the Multiple-Choice Question Types?
With time, the complexity of tests, particularly the multiple-choice questions given during exams, has greatly increased. More demands are placed on students, and thus the types of multiple-choice questions are modified as well. To compare: some time ago, there were only questions that required one to answer in text whereas nowadays there are questions with pictures, graphs, diagrams, and other images.
If to look at an average test given to students, there are two core types of questions:
- Multiple-choice questions;
- Single answer questions.
Multiple answer questions provide a student with an opportunity to select multiple answers among those provided in the list. It means that a few answers are correct for one question. When you take an online test, these answers are normally placed next to checkboxes. For students, multiple-choice questions can be confusing and tricky since students may be trapped in hesitation concerning what answer to choose. However, one can even choose the right answer even if he/ she is not so knowledgeable in the subject. One of the ways to do it is by method of exclusion.
Single answer questions do not provide you an option to choose a few right answers. You need to select only one correct answer. Normally, the choices are provided next to radio buttons.
How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions: Tips How to Succeed in Tests:
- Carefully and attentively read the question before looking through the answers.
When taking a multiple-choice exam, it may even be needed to read the formulation of the question even more than once. Usually, when you are careful enough, you may spot the keywords hidden already in the question, which may help you provide correct answers.
- Look for the answers among the provided list of choices.
When you are purposefully looking for the answer, you have the idea what the answer is about. If you do not the answer to the question after reading the assignment then read option one by one and analyze it: is it possible that this is the correct answer to the given question? Sometimes, you may come up with correct answers by method of exclusion.
- Be particularly attentive when you see a question with a negative formulation (containing a negation in it).
Sometimes, you are asked not about what is true but what is NOT true. Therefore, you should be careful about this type of question formulation. Usually, there are not so many questions of this kind but it may happen that there are some. If you come across this question, read it at least two times to properly understand what you asked about.
- “All of the above” may not always be the correct answer.
There “all of the above” is not the most common answer on multiple choice, so if you see it on the list, do not be in a hurry to choose this answer. Look at all of the choices and think of whether there are such answers that are contradictory to each other. If you have noticed at least one odd answer, then “all of the above” is definitely not the correct choice.
- If you do not know the correct answer to the question, then rely on your luck and guess.
Guessing the answer is always better than leaving the question unanswered. Even if you have not got the point of the question, it is better to choose the one that you like best. There is even the smallest probability that you will guess the answer.
- Do not tend to answer automatically.
Many students come up with some systematics, i.e. whereby they think that the most common answer is “C” most of the time. Or, if the previous three questions had the answer “B” then the next one cannot be “B” as well. Do not try to create some additional meanings.
Effective Strategies on How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions
Some students are not comfortable at all with answering multiple-choice questions during tests. If you feel the same, then you should definitely be aware of the multiple-choice strategies that will help you deal with the tests successfully. Check out the following tips for succeeding in test taking:
- Solve one question at a time. Do not disperse your attention on all questions.
- Do not waste time if you are stuck on one question. If you do not know the answer, move on and then come back to that question.
- If there are many questions, think how much time on average you need to devote to each of the questions.
- Try to cover quickly as many questions as possible. You will at least answer all of the questions that you know and that are easy for you.
- Take mini-breaks between blocks of questions.
- Make sure you have enough time for the “additional round” of looking through the questions from beginning till the end.
- If you do not know the answer to the question, then guess.
To conclude, the above-mentioned are just a few strategies and tips that can be applied by students if they want to succeed in test taking, particularly during exams. However, the tips are not complete and you can come up with your own strategies that suit you best. Moreover, what is important is sufficient preparation and practical training to be able to fulfill the tests.