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How to best answer multiple-choice questions

Published on 22 October 2018·Latest update at 30 August 2019
How to study for exams - How to best answer multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice tests can be harder than you think. Sometimes a multiple-choice exam is nice because you don't have to come up with the answer yourself. Instead, the right answer is already in front of you. The only thing you have to do is choosing the right one. However, many times it is not that straightforward. For instance, two answers are alike, or you simply don't know the answer. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can employ to have a good chance of passing the exam. In this article, some test-taking strategies are explained.


First read all the question and start answering the ones you immediately know

Open your exam and read all the questions carefully. Start by answering the questions you don’t have to think about very long. When you’ve answered these, they are done and you can go onto the next question. This way you know you’ve collected some point immediately with these answers.


Cover the answers with your hand

First of all, try to answer the multiple-choice question without looking at the answers. If you have studied sufficiently, you will know the answer yourself. Once you have formulated the answer in your head, check the possible answers to see if one of them matches your answer. This way, the multiple-choice is an extra confirmation that your answer is right.


How do you choose the right answer?

Usually there are four possible answers to a question. This test-taking strategy allows you to make the choice easier if you don't know the answer straight away.


a. Read the answers. One of the answers is definitely wrong, this one doesn’t make any sense. Eliminate this answer.


b. When you think about what you’ve learned, you will see that there is another answer that doesn't really connect with the question. It may be a true statement, but it is not an answer to the question. Eliminate this option, too.


c. By now, there are two answers left. Try to connect them with the question and choose the right one. You can find the solution by looking at the keywords. When the keywords match the ones in the question, you have found the right answer.


What to do when you don’t know the answer?

If you really don’t know what the right answer is, you can always do the following:
a. Go with your guts: pick the answer you thought of first and don’t change this.
b. Guess... Sometimes you just don't know. Always fill out something, since filling out nothing is always wrong. With guessing, there is still a 25% chance that you will earn a point.


Good luck with your exam!


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