In college, a good number of your tests will be Multiple Choice. Some students prefer multiple tests to fill-in-the-blank because multiple choice tests are more objective, and there’s a single best answer for each question. In order to be successful on multiple choice tests, you will need keen critical reasoning skills. We will talk about effective strategies for multiple choice tests below:
Read the ENTIRE Question
This is key when you’re taking a multiple choice test. You do not want to read part of a question and choose an answer, only to find out that there was a word later in the question that changed the entire meaning. Look out for questions that contain words such as ‘not’, ‘but’, ‘without’, ‘instead’, and ‘except’. These words can make a big difference in what the answer should be.
Answer on Your Own Before Looking at the Answer Choices
While you’re carefully reading your questions, you should be formulating an answer in your head. Do not just depend on the answer choices. There may be a distractor solution there. So, by having your own answer in your head, you will be less likely to fall for any trick answers.
Use Process of Elimination
Most students approach multiple choice questions by reading the question and immediately choosing the answer they believe is correct.
This can work, if it’s an extremely easy question for you. But, on questions that aren’t so obvious, you will want to use the process of elimination to deduce the right answer. Go one-by-one through the possible choices and eliminate those that do not make sense. If you’re left with 2 answers that COULD be right, make sure you go back and read the question again. There’s probably a keyword in there that you missed the first time. Rereading the questions will likely make the answer clear to you.
Take Your Time
Unless you’re taking a standardized test, you will generally have more than enough time to complete the tests you’re given in college. Even if you see other students around you finishing and leaving early, make sure that you are still paying attention to every question and answer on your test.
There are no extra points for finishing early. If you do finish quickly, take a few minutes to go over your test again. Literally take the test a second time as if it was your first time seeing it. Only turn in your test when you are sure you’ve answered each question the best you can.
Skip Difficult Questions and Come Back Later
This one depends on your own personal test taking style. But we recommend that you do not spend too much time on any one question. If there’s a question that you are unable to answer, you should quickly move on to the next question.
There are two reasons this is a good strategy. First, you will be able to maintain momentum as you’re powering through questions.
Secondly, sometimes as you read through the test questions, you come across information that will help you answer a precious question.
Study, Study, Study
Preparation is key to doing well on any test. Multiple choice tests are no different. Don’t assume that just because a test is multiple choice, it will be easier than other test formats. The more comfortable you are with the material, the better you will be at handling the curveballs the test may throw at you.