Multiple choice tests are used everywhere from driver’s license exams to university tests and job applications, so mastering such tests is an important skill. Such tasks are especially common in employment tests. From the police to customs to many large companies, virtually all companies that test their applicants via a selection process use the multiple-choice test.
It seems easy in theory to choose one or more from four or five options, but in practice it can be really hard to eliminate the wrong answers and choose the right ones. They also don’t have to be questions at all, but can be statements, incomplete sentences, or problem solving, and when time pressure is added to the mix, the task becomes even harder. To pass a multiple choice test, one must have the necessary knowledge on the one hand, and also use intelligent strategies and tactics on the other. The following strategies and techniques can provide some guidance.
Practice tests can help you manage your time well, because if the test is an hour long and has thirty questions, you know that you have to get to at least question 15 by the halfway point to be on schedule. Multiple choice tests often give two similar answers, so you should focus your study on the most important concepts.
You should also develop a strategy for unknown answers, because sometimes it is better to leave an answer blank than to guess. On some tests you can gain one point for a random guess, but on other tests one point is deducted for each wrong answer, so guessing is not a good idea here. If there are minus points for wrong answers, you should only answer a question if you are more than 50% sure that the solution is correct.
You may want to skip difficult questions and return to them later. If one cannot answer a question within the calculated time limit, then one should continue with the test. One should also remain attentive as one works through the test sheets so as not to miss clues that might help with the questions one is unsure about.
In any case, one should read through the questions carefully because when the clock is ticking, one may be tempted to check off the answers as quickly as possible, but it is also quite important to take enough time to understand the questions properly. This is what can really save time when it comes to choosing the right answers. Questions contain a lot of information, which is why you should read them carefully.
Answers with words like “most of the time,” “usually,” “may,” “frequently,” “rarely,” or “usually” are carefully worded and thus more likely to be correct than others, while blanket answers that include words like “always,” “never.” “exclusively,” “all,” “never,” “only,” “certainly,” are frequently incorrect. Especially long answers are, statistically, more often correct than short ones.
A good strategy is therefore also to analyze the answer choices themselves, because very long answers are often actually the correct ones. This is because questioners want to make sure that the answer is correct to avoid later discussions. For this reason, correct answers tend to be more complex. Exactly the opposite is true for so-called outliers. because if the answer catches your eye directly because it is very different from the others, it is usually wrong.
You should watch out for clue words and circle the most important words in the question. Accurate word choice can be an important tool in figuring out the correct answer. Pay particular attention to negations, superlatives, and relativizations.
Questions that require a choice between true and false are also interesting, as it has been found that the answer choice true is more often true. Thus, it is easier for questioners to take a true fact than to come up with a false fact. However, the situation is somewhat different for the answers “none of the possibilities are true” or “all of the possibilities are true.” According to statistics, these are just as likely as all other answers.
With a process of elimination, one should also simply cross out wrong answers. This means to logically exclude those answers that do not make sense or do not answer the question completely, because then the chances are much better if you work with only two or even three options instead of four or five.
You should also reserve time at the end of the test to return to the answers you were unsure about.