Test Taking Guide for Multiple Choice Questions

When taking a test that includes multiple choice questions, use the following strategies to improve your chances of selecting the correct response.  Click (Here) to open a PDF version of the Guide.

  • As you read a question, underline or highlight key words.
  • Try covering up all the answers. As you read the question try to anticipate the correct response, then uncover the answers one at a time, and choose the best answer.
  • If you see the response that you anticipated, circle it, but always check to confirm it is the best answer from all the choices for the specific question that is being asked.
  •  With multiple choice questions you are not looking for just a correct answer you are looking for the most correct answer based only on what was asked in the question.
  • As you read each possible answer, circle key points that may answer the question and just mark completely out any answers that are clearly incorrect.
  • A well designed multiple choice test will have plausible answers for each option. The most selected incorrect answer will be an option, so always test your answer choice against all other options and choose the best response.
  •  If you have trouble selecting an answer, consider skipping the question. Later questions may trigger a thought that helps you answer an earlier question. Just be careful in marking your answer sheet and be sure to pace yourself so you will have time to review skipped questions.

, and . . . . as a last resort!   If you do not see an answer that you expected or can’t determine the best answer, consider these strategies to improve your odds of selecting a correct response?

  • If two answers appear equally correct, compare them for differences and refer back to the question to break the tie.
  • Answers that use absolute words, such as “always” or “never” are easier to rule in or out than ones that use conditional words like “usually” or “probably.”
  • Look for grammatical clues. For example, if the stem ends with the indefinite article, “an,”, then the correct response probably begins with a vowel.
  • The longest response has a slightly better chance of being the correct one, because the test writer may have added more complex or qualifying facts, adjectives or phrases.
  • Look for verbal associations. A response that repeats key words that are in the question stem may be correct, but be sure it is the most correct.