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Let me give you something on "multiple-choice" items that may help you to guess better.

Many teachers prepare multiple-choice tests because they are easy to mark and offer the student the advantage of actually seeing what the correct answer is. There are important strategies for taking this type of test.

First, and most importantly, NEVER NEVER leave out an answer on a multiple-choice test. If you lave it out, it's wrong for sure, but if you guess, you have a chance of getting it right. It's handy to know if the grading includes a "penalty" for wrong answers, however.

Always read the question carefully. Note words such as "not" and "never." Make sure you are answering what the question is asking. Read ALL the choices before you select one...even if you think the first choice is correct.

What happens if a question stumps you?

Most multiple-choice tests include 4 possible choices. Out of those 4, one is usually pretty ridiculous and can be eliminated right away. Then, you are left with 3 to select from. Look at each choice and ask yourself "Does this answer have anything to do with the question?" Frequently you'll be able to eliminate another choice this way. Now, there are 2 answers left. If you have no idea, you'll have to guess but at least you have narrowed down the possibilities.

It's always important to read through the entire test. Sometimes, you can get information from one question to help you answer another one. If there's something you really don't know, don't guess until you've read through the entire test. Then, if you still can't figure out, guess!

Best of luck!


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1 answer
  1. SraJMcGin gave you excellent suggestions. Here are my class notes on the same subject. They will either add to or reinforce her suggestions.

    Advice to the exam-lorn ("test wiseness")

    I. Answer easy items first. If have to think about any question after reading for more than a minute, move on.

    A. Can get Qs you are sure of correct within the time limit. Spending too much time on hard questions, might keep you from completing easier items later in the test.

    B. Can form associations on later items that might help with previous ones.

    C. Can break negative sets/fixations. Sometimes we develop ways of looking at something that interferes with our solving a problem. Information in later questions might help us view a previous question in a different light.

    II. With multiple choice, treat each alternative as a T-F question. If you don't know right answer, before guessing, eliminate wrong alternatives. This increases the chances of your guess being correct.

    III. If first hunch is relatively sure, keep it. But if you are unsure or misread Q, don't hesitate to change first hunch.

    IV. Carefully read items and directions. (In one high school experiment, the test directions indicated to just sign the paper and turn it in. Many students failed to read the directions and waded through the whole test.)

    V. Answer Q asked. An alternative may have a true statement, but it does not answer the question asked.

    VI. If no penalty for guessing, answer all Qs.

    VII. Multiple choice alternatives with terms like "always" and "never" are usually wrong.

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