It’s a mistake to think multiple choice tests are easier than fill-in-the-blank tests or essay questions. Yes, multiple choice tests have a guaranteed right answer and there’s a wide range of questions, so each one counts for a smaller portion of the entire grade opposed to an essay test: that’s the good news. The bad news is, this wide range of questions means you need to know more material; questions can be vague and confusing, since they’re designed to trick you; you’ll need to know specific info like names, dates, and vocabulary in order to answer the questions. But fear not, we’re here to help you! We have some fool-proof study strategies to make sure you get the highest grade possible.
Take Practice Tests
The easiest way to prepare for anything is to do that thing over and over again. Practice tests are going to allow you to do exactly that. Check your book for a practice test; ask your teacher for practice questions; look online for a practice test. When you take these, set a timer and don’t look up answers in your book. You want to make sure the practice environment is as close to the real one as possible. Taking these practice tests is going to prepare you for the real thing. Plus, it will make it a lot easier to avoid test anxiety because you’ve already gone through a similar situation.
Study Alone; Then Study in Groups
Everyone wants to have fun and study with their friends; however, you need to test your own knowledge solo first, then you can convene with your pals and ask for help. So, review your previous quizzes, your textbook, and most of all your practice tests on your own. Then, get together with other people in your class and score your practice exam. Explain concepts you understand to your classmates and listen while they explain concepts to you. Finally, try and write the real test—this is tricky, but it’s a great exercise. Ask your classmates what questions they think will be on the test so you can prepare for those.
Skim Through the Whole Test
Alright, it’s test day. The next strategies are going to help you as you take the test. Of course, you’re going to want to practice these on the practice exam so they’re second nature by the time you’re taking the real thing. First, read the entire test. You need to see how long it is; you want to know how many questions there are so you can properly pace yourself. If the test is one hundred questions and you only have an hour, that’s a little more than 30 seconds per question. Once you know the proper pacing, you can answer the questions as quickly as possible.
Answer The Easy Questions First
Once you’ve skimmed through the test, find the easiest questions that you’re most sure of and answer them immediately. These will give you given points right off the bat. Plus, you’ll be able to use that first burst of adrenaline to get a bunch of points right away. These easy questions will help you answer other questions that build atop this knowledge later in the test.
Read the Whole Question, Every Answer, and Circle Important Words
Don’t just skim the question or the answer choices. Read every word and make sure to circle the ones that are the most important. If the question says all are correct except, circle except. You want to be certain what the question is asking you so you can easily narrow down the right answer. Remember: multiple choice questions are designed to trick you, so find those tricky words, circle them and bring them to the forefront.
Eliminate Wrong Answers
Take your pen and cross off the wrong answers. Answers that have words you never heard of are almost definitely wrong. Answers that don’t grammatically fit the question are wrong. Negative and absolute words might be wrong, but if there’s two contradicting choices then one is definitely wrong. Two options that are the opposite of each other often contain the one correct answers. “All of the above” options are easy to test—if one is not correct, eliminate the “all of the above” choice right away. Also, the option that has the most information is usually right, because then it covers its bases in being correct. Just cross off the wrong ones and your chances of picking the right answer goes up immensely.
Once you’ve read the question fully, eliminated the wrong choices and answered it to the best of your ability, move on. Don’t dwell on one question and get in your head. Studies have shown, your first, educated pick is almost always the right answer. Taking a test is entirely mental. Don’t let yourself get in your head and sabotage your right choices.
The key to acing multiple choice tests lies in these strategies: take practice tests; study alone, then in a group; skim the test; read the questions and answers very carefully; circle important words; cross off wrong answers; and trust your instincts. If you do these, you’ll see your grades improve dramatically.