8 Tips to Help You Succeed at Multiple-Choice Tests

Multiple-choice tests usually make students hesitate, because if they guess wrong, they may lose points. That's why it's important to know all the key concepts, ideas and strategies to do well on these types of tests. Find out more in today's article.
8 Tips to Help You Succeed at Multiple-Choice Tests

Last update: 28 December, 2020

There are different types of tests: oral, written, multiple-choice, etc. Therefore, depending on the type of test we’re taking, there are different study methods. In this article, we’ll help you succeed at multiple-choice tests.

In multiple-choice tests there are 3 or 4 answers to choose from, but only one of those is correct. And, of course, students must choose the correct one to succeed. These tests usually make students hesitate, because if they guess, they may lose points. This is why they need to be well prepared.

Tips to help you succeed at multiple-choice tests

There’s a big difference between sitting for an exam in which you have to answer an open question vs. multiple-choice tests. In the second case, we need to have an accurate understanding of the topics included.

8 Tips to Help You Succeed at Multiple-Choice Tests

So, if you prepare yourself and take the following tips into account, you’ll pass this type of test with success.

Active study strategies

To succeed at this type of test, you need to identify and understand all the key concepts. You don’t have to memorize everything. You need to read carefully and write down all the important information. Finally, you have to check if you understand everything you’ve studied.

An efficient technique to study actively is the use of flash cards. Each card bears a question on one side and an answer on the other. A good thing about these cards is that you can take them with you and read them whenever you have some free time.

Mock tests to succeed at multiple-choice tests

Practice makes perfect. You can practice using old tests or coming up with new questions while you study. You can also take the mock test simulating the day of the exam. To do that, you should stick to the same amount of time you have when taking the real test. Then, you can count the time it took you to answer each question, so you’ll be better prepared for the real situation.

Read the instructions carefully

Before starting the multiple-choice test, read the instructions carefully, because they may include:

  • The time you have to complete it.
  • If there are questions with more than one correct answer.
  • Each question’s score. And, the final score you need to pass the test.
  • If incorrect answers make you lose points. And, what happens with blank spaces.

This information is very important to create a strategy and not take unnecessary chances. Because, if you lose points when answering wrong, you may fail the test.

Scan the test and then read each question carefully

Take the first five minutes to scan the test. This will help you identify easy and difficult questions. After doing this, read carefully each question and answers. As a result, you’ll make sure you understand all the questions and you’ll be able to answer correctly.

More tips to help you succeed at multiple-choice tests

Answer the questions you’re sure you know the answer

First you should answer the easiest questions, which you think you already know the answer to. Therefore, you’ll skip the most difficult ones and then you’ll take your time to think about them. This will help you organize your time, so you’ll be able to finish the test within the given time period.

While you do this, you can mark the most difficult ones. Then, you’ll take more time to answer them correctly.

Continue with the difficult questions you think you might know the answer

After answering the easiest questions, you’ll move on to the difficult ones you think you might know the answer to. In case you find one of them too hard, move on to the next one, so you don’t lose time.

Decide whether you’ll answer the questions you’re not sure about or you’ll leave a blank space

Once you’ve finished answering the rest of the questions, move on to the ones you’re not sure about or that you don’t know the answers to.  In order to create a strategy, you need to know if:

  • Wrong answers don’t make you lose points. In this case, you can answer all the questions. Because, if you make a mistake, it won’t modify the ones you got right.
  • Wrong answers and blank spaces make you lose points. In this case, you should answer all the questions, too. Because, if you leave a blank space, you’ll lose points.
  • Only wrong answers make you lose points. In this case, make sure you answer the ones you think you might get right. Remember that too many mistakes can make you fail the test.
8 Tips to Help You Succeed at Multiple-Choice Tests

Review your answers

Before you run out of time, review all your answers. Sometimes, when you first read a question you may get it wrong. Therefore, if you read it again, you may find a mistake and fix it.

More tips to help you succeed at multiple-choice tests

The following extra tips will help you pass the test:

  • When choosing the correct answer, eliminate the options you’re sure are incorrect. Then, you’ll have fewer options to choose from.
  • If you can’t decide among the possible answers and the last one that says “all of the above,” that’s probably the correct one.
  • Don’t trust in answers with absolute or negative words, such as: “always”, “never”, “often”, etc.
  • Don’t wait until the end to complete the test. You may run out of time.

“Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn.”

– Albert Einstein –

In conclusion, these tips will help you succeed at multiple-choice tests. However, it’s important that you identify the type of test you’ll be facing, because if you don’t, you may fail. So, if you put this into practice, you’ll probably pass the test. Just remember that you’ll have to work hard to succeed.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bes-Rastrollo, M., Jiménez-Ruiz, F. J., & Martínez-González, M. Á. (2016). Cómo preparar un examen tipo test . Eunsa.
  • Reiné-Díaz, P., & Fernández-Ramos, M. D. (2016). El examen tipo test de elección múltiple como herramienta de evaluación en Educación Secundaria: un caso práctico. Revista electrónica Advances in Innovation and Research Secondary Education Journal, 6(2), 0.
  • Gómez de Terreros, I., Toro Cebada, R., del Río, J. M., Távora López, M., & Lanzarote Fernández, M. D. (2000). Aplicación de la prueba objetiva tipo test como técnica de autoevaluación continuada y refuerzo pedagógico. II Jornadas Andaluzas de Calidad en la Enseñanza Universitaria. Desarrollo de Planes de Calidad para la Universidad. Materiales para la Calidad.(2000), p 323-327.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.