Part 2 in our continuing series on Multiple Choice. See Part 1 here
4. Having Problems Choosing? Choose the One that is Closest to the Right Answer
Multiple-choice tests are quick and simple. Select the answer that is the closest to being correct.
A multiple-choice test that is well designed will give clues in the question that will help you to recognize an answer that is the best choice. If you are stuck, re-read the question and look for the clues.
Be alert and don’t fall for traps. Read all of the choices first.
5. Some Choices Do Not Make Sense
- Sort through all of the answers first and then consider the ones that are left. The ones that make the least amount of sense, put out of your mine. By doing this it will reveal the correct answer.
- Many answers are clearly wrong, move past them to the next choice.
- Many answers are only partially wrong. If any parts of them are wrong, they are the wrong choice totally. If the question is poorly written, you can talk to your teacher after you get your graded exam back.
- Avoid some answers that look as though they are correct but aren’t. The answer may be correct but does not apply to one particular part of the question.
- When looking at the possibly answers, you may notice two answers that are the exact opposite of each other. Normally or of the two is the correct answer. But if your teacher is a trickster, stay on your toes.
- A lot of answers are close to being the same but are just a little bit different. Sometimes it’s just a change of a word or two. Once again, the correct answer is often one of the two. Look closely at the answers and notice the differences. The small differences will decide which one is the correct answer.
6. Look for Clues.
You will not always be able to find the correct answers when looking at the clue words. Sometimes deliberately wrong clues are added as a trap. If none of the other strategies has worked for you, look for clues.
A. Grammatical clues
Teachers have the habit of having the correct answers grammatically correct. You will notice that wrong answers are not the same way. However, be alert that sometimes teachers will do this on purpose to confuse or trap students. Be careful though. Most standardized tests today are computerized and the responses are scrutinized more carefully. You likely won’t find this type of error on a Nursing Entrance exam, the AFQT, or a College Entrance exam. But you might just find this type of error on a High School tests.
A. Watch for absolutes and qualifiers
A lot of times answers that have always, never, all, and none are not correct. There aren’t many things that are absolutely true or absolutely false. Teacher will try to avoid arguments about answers and put in qualifiers like seldom, generally, and tend to be.
B. Do you recognize any of the phrases?
When teachers prepare their own tests, some questions will naturally flow with one of the answers. It is as if they are taken verbatim out of the textbook. They just might be! Especially on a High School exam. Watch carefully and examine all of the choice looking for this pattern, then follow your intuition and choose that answer.
4 Look for degrees of correctness
When it comes to numbers or time such as dates, there will always be two answers that will be outside the area of being correct. For numbers there will be one that is too big and one that is too small. For time such as dates, one will too early and the other too late.
For answers that are either too detailed or too vague, the one that is too vague is likely to be the correct answer. If the vague answers uses some or all of the detailed answer, then it is definitely the correct answer.
Not all of these clues are foolproof, but they are better than taking an off the wall guess.
7. Guessing is a good choice if you are stuck
When you have a four part multiple choice test, it would be dangerous to guess randomly on all of the questions. You would be lucky if your grade was 25%. You don’t need to take random guesses. On any multiple choice test you can quickly discard two of the four answers. Use what you learned and the strategies in this section. This can give you a grade of 75% just by guessing alone. Use your smarts and take that grade higher past 80%.
If you have a brain freeze on the information for the test, you can still put the odds in your favor. Look for patterns in answers. A lot of large tests that are hand corrected will use patterns to make the scoring simple. So unless you are penalized for wrong answers, use C either as an answer if you haven’t used it at all or in awhile.
- Students can lose points for not putting their answers in the right spots, so make sure that yours are in the correct spots.
- Go back and look over questions and answers you marked to think on a bit more.
- When you have finished your test you need to go back and check your answers, that is, if there is time..
When you feel you need to change an answer, don’t hesitate, change it. There are times you memory can be jogged by obvious or subtle clues. In addition, you definitely will understand what the point was that the teacher was trying to make. This can give you an advantage to determine what the answer is to a question that is poorly written.
Change an answer maybe once but don’t keep changing it again and again. That’s just a waste of time. When you are ready to hand in your test, make sure to erase all pencil marks that shouldn’t be there. More about guessing on multiple choice
9. Keep trying, Never Quit
It’s been proven that many students that give up before they have tested these eight strategies. Use the strategies and keep going. Quickly go through marking off every question while watching for words that count. Look for tricks; take a guess at answers by reading a section of the question. Quickly look at the choices for answers that the teacher would prefer. Discard ridiculous answers immediately so you can make an educated guess. Go with your intuition at every question and move on. Just by moving quickly puts the odds in your favor.
8. It is OK to change the Answers
The saying “Never change an answer” is a complete myth.
Do not believe this. Results have shown that when you have a feeling to change an answer, that feeling is usually right. But use a system when following your feelings.
- Once you have completed the exam and if you have extra time, go over all of your answers.
- Read the directions again. Make sure you have followed all the directions down to the last period.