Multiple choice-based tests are one of the effective ways to test a student as it assesses the student on a broader range of topics and subjects. Multiple choice-based questions can also help students in assessing their own knowledge gaps and serve as a good study tool while learning. Most standardized tests, class tests and competitive tests are based on this type of test taking system.
Students usually make the mistake of not using the right strategic approach to answer the questions to make the correct choice. Either students assume the test to be difficult (usually, due to lack of practice and preparation) or assume that the test would be as straightforward as guesswork and can be done on the spot during the assessment. Both approaches, however, are not the best strategies to take the exam. One must be familiar with not just the basic concepts but also with the applications and analogies of the subject matter while taking the test.
Do not underestimate the importance of practice. Plan and schedule practice tests before the actual assessment, as it tremendously helps with muscle memory which increases the chance of scoring more and minimizes guesswork. Scoring well in multiple choice-based exams requires one to use the right strategies. If you are preparing for such exams, you are in the right place. Here are a few test taking strategies that will prove to be advantageous.
Read the instructions
Before proceeding to answer the questions, read all the instructions thoroughly. Many students skip the long page of instructions. However, reading the instructional part is crucial to fully understand the objectives of the test. Comprehension of the format of the question, and point each question carries, whether questions carry negative marking is quite significant. It also helps to plan out the pace of the entire test and use time more effectively. If the test is computer-based and has a time-limit, then pace yourself up for it. Allocate proper time to each question by considering the total number of questions.
Read the questions carefully
Once understanding all the instructions, you can then proceed to the questions. To understand a question better, rephrase the question in your mind in your own words. This might look time-consuming but with practice this could easily become second nature. So first, try to answer the question without looking at the choices. If you are a hundred percent sure of the answer, go ahead and mark the choice that has the answer. If you are a bit unsure of choices, look for the clues in the question. Take a look at this example from Math Kangaroo.
One might easily miss the words as many in the sentence due to oversight or assumptions. “he uses as many different …" This can make one come up with multiple answers leading to confusion and loss of time.
Here is another example of assumptions a mind can make.
At a first glance one may think of multiples of 3. But the catch is that “she starts jumping from number 1”.
If you are still unsure, you can attempt these questions later by keeping it for reviewing, this can save you a lot of time.
Look at the choices
After reading the question and checking the choices, start by negation. Eliminate the choices which are not at all related to the question. Now that you have eliminated choices which are irrelevant, any of the following cases would be true.
Choosing between two similar looking choices
This can be a bit difficult as both the choices look similar. The best way to find the correct choice in this case is comparing and analyzing both the choices and checking how it is different. In some cases, if one of the similar choices is incorrect then the chances of other choice being incorrect too is likely.
Choosing the correct answer when choices are ambiguous
Many a times choices can be a bit confusing as they are open to various interpretations. When the options are like “both a and b,” “none of them,” “all of the above” and likewise, it can mean a lot of things. So, re-read the question and understand how it is related to the choices given. Then, compare all the choices to the question.
When you don’t know the answer and question is unfamiliar
Use this strategy only as a last resort. If you do not know the answer and question is difficult. To make a smart guess, look for the choices that have some familiarity to the question, and eliminate the rest of the choices. If wrong answers deduct the marks, then avoid doing the guesswork.
Reviewing the questions
Once you complete the questions that you know, it is time to go back to the questions that you kept for reviewing. It not only saves you time, but also gives you ample time to focus on the questions that you were unsure of earlier, thus helping you to make the correct choice.
Before we know the basic test-taking strategies, it is crucial to prepare and practice to work your muscle memory. Plan and schedule a practice session as often as possible. Fixing the location has its merits as well. Read the material given by your teacher beforehand and practice mock tests by yourself. While taking multiple choice-based tests, students get overwhelmed with the choices but with the right strategies one can perform well and score better marks. Following the strategies that work will put your best foot forward to make your’s a success story.