Multiple Choice Exam Answering Tips

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Just because the answer is in front of you does not make the question easier when they all look like potential answers. This issue can cause people to understudy. In any kind of technical or medical school, multiple choice tests can be nightmares. So how exactly do you choose the best option when all of the options look so appealing? To make matters worse, no one cares what the right answer is… they want the best, right answer! I am going to go through some of the best tips, tricks, and techniques that I have used to “ace” tests. There is even methods you use to pinpoint the best answer even if you have no idea what the answer is.

The multiple choice exam is perhaps one of the most common formats of standardized testing because they are graded the fastest in large classroom settings. No teacher wants to grade multiple short answer essays unless they absolutely have to.

The Answers You Do Not Choose

First look at all of your answers. I usually find the answer “all of the above” to be right 80% of the time. “None of the above” is only right 15% of the time. Do not rely on the old myth that it is always the wrong answer. Eliminate any funny answers. Always make sure that at least two of the answers make sense to the question before assuming anything. It is not uncommon for teachers to throw in two facts that you know, one that you don’t, followed by an “all of the above” statement. This is a good strategy for testing, usually implemented because teachers want students to read the book or know most of the information.

The Tip Offs

Nothing quite tells you a right answer like a teacher throwing in an option of “A and B” before an “All of the above” option. In about 90% of cases, the answer would be A and B. All of the above is another easy way to weed out the people that know the information from the people that don’t. This is a very advanced way to test someones knowledge on a subject.

Some teachers also like to throw small hints and tips in the test. You might find that question #1 asks you which of the following is a white blood cell and that #25 asks what the neutrophil white blood cell does. Make sure to review your entire test for hints before turning in a test. This works great for short answer quizzes too when spelling counts.

Choose One Option Then Stop

Once you mark an answer, don’t change it without good reason. In about 95% of cases where students changed their answer, the first answer was the correct answer. No matter if you blame this on nerves or second guessing yourself, I find it best just not to question your answer at all after you have decided on one. This is safest route.

What To Do If You Are Lost

  • Choose the letter C because teachers like to surround the right answer with disasters
  • Choose the longest answer or the most scientific answer if multiple long answers
  • On the other hand, short answers with lots of jargon is often incorrect
  • Choose an answer that begins with the key word from the question
  • If the key words ends in “an” the correct answer probably starts with a vowel
  • When questions in a row have identical answers, they are all likely different answers
  • A positive answer is most likely to be right than a negative answer
  • Don’t over analyze a common sense question, sometimes they do throw you a bone

Having the first answer as the right answer does not occur all that often. In general, spend one minute per question to make sure you finish in time. Also look at all the answers and look for one that does not fit the scheme. If you have three words that are comparable to each other in effects,  choose the one that is different from them as that is usually the answer.

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