How to Ace Multiple Choice Questions

When in doubt, always pick C

From university admission exams to job applications, multiple choice questions are one of the most common ways for people to test you. Even in Pakistan, almost all university/college entrance exams, classroom tests, and board examinations contain a section with multiple choice questions. Since you will no doubt encounter these types of questions throughout your student life, learning some strategies to score better at these questions will be very beneficial.

To ace any exam, including multiple choice, you need to have a good knowledge of the syllabus applied along with intelligent strategies and tactics. But, there are also some tips and techniques that can help you succeed at a tricky multiple choice exam.

If you truly do not know the answer to your question, pick C. It’s the safest bet on a random guess.

There’s a common belief that in a multiple choice test, the answer C (the third option in a 4-5 option set) is the most commonly-correct answer, hence it is the safest bet on a random guess. Guessing C might not necessarily help on that question, but you are better off using your time for questions that you do know or can figure out with time.

Like the above trick for out-smarting multiple choice questions, there are a few more tips that are applied and tested methods taught by tutors ranking highest on Studentpark. Let’s look at more techniques you can use to ace and out-smart multiple choice questions.

Skim Over the Test Before You Start

When answering multiple choice questions, remember that sometimes, multiple choice test questions will have details that might hint at, or even outright answer, other questions on the same test. This might not always be the case and you shouldn’t rely or spend too much time trying to find them – after all, preparing in advance for your test is much more effective. Still, this can be a handy way to choose if you really can not figure out the answer.

Read the questions carefully

Multiple choice questions are generally easier than other sections of the exam. It is common to see teachers putting a couple of tricky questions into the mix. Students often think they know what a question is asking before reading it carefully and jump straight to an answer. Take the time to carefully read each question and their respective answer choices. Use your pen to make sure you catch words in the question like “not” and “except” that could easily trick you. Many students miss a word, misread the question, or forget what the question is actually asking and chose the answer that is the exact opposite of the correct response.

Come up with your own answer

Read a multiple choice question in its entirety before glancing over its answer options. Once you understand what the question is asking think about what the right answer should say or contain before looking at the choices. Try answering it in your mind before reviewing the answer options. Then, use that ideal answer as a yardstick to measure the available choices. This small act, once made a habit, can prevent you from talking yourself out of the correct answer.

Use the process of elimination.

Process of elimination is one of the most effective methods of answering multiple choice questions. By using this method, you can cross out all the answers you know are incorrect, then you can focus on the remaining answers. This strategy not only saves time, but it greatly increases your likelihood of selecting the correct answer.

Look at the surrounding answers.

A study found that correct answer choices hardly repeated consecutively, so by looking at the answers of the questions you do know will help you figure out the ones you’re struggling on. For example, if you’re struggling on question No. 2, but know that the answer to No. 1 is A and the answer to No. 3 is B, those choices can probably be eliminated for No. 2. But keep in mind that knowledge trumps outguessing. So cross out answers you know are wrong based on facts first.

Do not obsess over your choices

Going back and forth between two answer choices is usually a waste of time. If you’re down to two options, you have a 50% chance of choosing the right answer. Compare your remaining choices, isolate the similarities and differences, and then make a choice. Usually, multiple choice sections or exams have lots of questions, and they are all worth the same marks. Don’t waste time obsessing over one hard question, when an easy question does just as much to raise your score.

Manage your time

When starting the multiple choice questions, look at how many questions there are in the section and divide your time into segments. You need to be cognizant of the clock in order to ensure that you will get to all of the questions. As mentioned, usually questions are weighted equally on these types of questions, so there is little benefit completing hard questions rather than easy ones.

Answer every question

If you have not completed all of the multiple choice questions when there are only a couple of seconds left of the exam, randomly pick a choice and guess on all the remaining questions. Depending on how many options there are for each question, you have around 20-25% of guessing the correct answer. And a randomly guessed correct response is worth just as much as one that is based on careful reasoning and studying.

Choose the longest answer.

Another study found that the longest answer on multiple-choice tests was usually correct. Test makers have to make sure that the right answers are indisputably right. So, often this demands some qualifying language that they may not try so hard with wrong answers. If one choice is noticeably longer than other choices, it’s likely the correct answer.

Multiple choice tests are used everywhere as a form of checking your knowledge - from getting a driving license to college and job applications. This makes them a vital skill to master. We all know that the best way to do good in any exam is to study and attend classes. But when it comes to multiple choice questions, there are a couple of tips to increase your chances of guessing correctly. But please keep in mind that knowledge trumps outguessing, and that preparing in advance for your test is much more effective.