Remember that you are looking for the best answer, not
only a correct one, and not one which must be true all
of the time, in all cases, and without exception. Multiple
choice questions usually include a phrase or stem followed
by three to five options:
- Read the directions carefully. Know if each question
has one or more correct option. Know if you are penalized
for guessing. Know how much time is allowed (this
governs your strategy).
- Preview the test. Read through the test quickly
and answer the easiest questions first. Mark those
you think you know in some way that is appropriate.
- Read through the test a second time and answer
more difficult questions. You may pick up cues for
answers from the first reading, or become more comfortable
in the testing situation.
- If time allows, review both questions and answers.
It is possible you mis-read questions the first time.
options. Improve your odds, think critically:
- Cover the options, read the stem, and try to answer.
Select the option that most closely matches your answer.
- Read the stem with each option. Treat each option
as a true-false question, and choose the "most
to answer difficult questions:
- Eliminate options you know to be incorrect. If
allowed, mark words or alternatives in questions that
eliminate the option.
- Give each option of a question the "true-false
test:" This may reduce your selection to the
- Question options that grammatically don't fit with
- Question options that are totally unfamiliar to
- Question options that contain negative or absolute
words.Try substituting a qualified term for the absolute
one, like frequently for always; or typical for every
to see if you can eliminate it .
- "All of the above:" If you know two of
three options seem correct, "all of the above"
is a strong possibility.
- Number answers: toss out the high and low and consider
the middle range numbers.
- "Look alike options" probably one is
correct; choose the best but eliminate choices that
mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each
- Double negatives: Create the equivalent positive
statement and consider.
- Echo options: If two options are opposite each
other, chances are one of them is correct.
- Favor options that contain qualifiers. The result
is longer, more inclusive items that better fill the
role of the answer.
- If two alternatives seem correct, compare them
for differences, then refer to the stem to find your
- Always guess when there is no penalty for guessing
or you can eliminate options.
- Don't guess if you are penalized for guessing and
if you have no basis for your choice.
- Use hints from questions you know to answer questions
you do not.
- Change your first answers when you are sure of
the correction, or other cues in the test cue you