8 Multiple Choice Strategies Every Test Taker Must Know

Multiple Choice Strategies

Coming up with multiple-choice test-taking strategies can feel like the most daunting. It’s easy to second guess your gut, stress yourself out, and doubt every choice you make.

You don’t need all that stress during every test. After all, you’re in school, and you’re going to take a lot of tests. Rather than stressing out, prepare yourself and try to feel confident.

We’re here to help in any way we can with tips and tricks for the best multiple choice test taking strategies.

Prepping for Your Multiple Choice Test

In the days and weeks leading to your test, you need to prepare yourself. Before long, you will have a routine before a big test, but first, you need to figure out what works best for you.

1. Don’t Burn Yourself Out

Studying is the first thing you need to do for any test. That might be obvious, but the way you study is important.

You don’t want to get too burned out on one subject. You should always come up with a schedule for study and review. Find the time of day that allows you to focus the most and put in about an hour or two. Then, when you’ve studied all you can, try reviewing things you know will be on the test.

These study and review sessions shouldn’t be too short, but they certainly shouldn’t be too long. If you burn yourself out by studying for six hours at a time, you won’t learn efficiently. You will only be more stressed than ever. Spread it out and plan ahead.

2. The Less Stress the Better

It isn’t easy, but you should avoid stress before a big test.

No matter how important it is, you shouldn’t dwell on that fact. If you’re studying, reviewing, and putting in the time to really get to know your stuff, you’re doing a great job. There isn’t much more you can do, and any added stress will make things harder than ever.

3. Get Good Rest Beforehand

You should study the day before the test as you normally would. Do a review session or two, but avoid all temptation to stay up all night for a huge review session.

It might feel like a last-ditch effort to go over everything, but it will only hurt you on the test day. Instead of staying up all night, you should relax and get a good night of sleep. That will give you a chance to wake up refreshed and ready for your day.

If you get up early, you will also have a chance to grab some coffee and a good breakfast, which will be your fuel through the test.

Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies

As we already mentioned, there is no perfect strategy for taking a test. However, you do need to have a plan. We want to cover some of the best things you can do to make your test go smoothly.

4. Read Thoroughly

One of the most important things you can do during a test is to read the question and all of the answers thoroughly. No skimming allowed.

Many students make the mistake of quickly reading the question and looking for the answer that makes the most immediate sense. Sometimes, they don’t even really read all of the options before making their selection.

Some questions may contain tricky words that are easy to miss, such as:

  • Always
  • Never
  • Not

Many tests, such as the SAT test and the ACT test, already assume that students will miss these words, so they include wrong answers that would make sense if the words above weren’t there.

5. The Process of Elimination

Eliminating the wrong answers is important, especially when you’re uncertain about the right answer. By eliminating the answers that are definitely wrong, you will be able to narrow down your options easily. After all, picking between two options will give you a better chance than gambling with all four.

6. Go with Your Gut

Now, there are a lot of different recommendations on whether you should go through all your answers to review before finishing your test. That will give you a chance to doubt yourself, pick a different answer, and end up with the wrong one.

If you give yourself plenty of time to think about the questions and deduce the right answer, you should avoid going back through. Go with your gut and stick with it.

If you’re blazing through the test with a blind fury, it isn’t a bad idea to go back through. But we would recommend answering the first time carefully and sticking with it.

7. The More Information the Better

If an answer seems extremely detailed compared to the rest, you will have a better chance of figuring out if it is the right one. These will have more hints to whether they are correct or not. If you’re uncertain about an answer and have it narrowed down to two options, pick the one with more information.

It is not a foolproof strategy, but it is commonly the better option. Plus, an answered question is usually more valuable than leaving any questions blank.

8. Pace Yourself

You need to have a good understanding of how much time you have, how many questions there are, and whether there will be a written portion of the test. That will enable you to balance your time wisely and move at a steady pace.

If you’re lingering too long on a question, come back to it later and answer the ones you know first. Then you can come back, knowing you have enough time to really think it through.

Multiple Choice Tests are as Simple as You Make Them

Multiple choice test taking strategies are plentiful. Everyone has a different idea of how you should approach your test successfully. Only you know what works best for you.

Go into your exam with a strategy in mind. If anything was too stressful, try something different the next time. There’s nothing wrong with a little trial and error.

More than anything, you need to sit back, relax, and prepare the best you can. Don’t burn yourself out, deal with undue stress, or blaze your way through your test. Be careful and diligent with your time before and during your test.

If you have any test taking strategies you would like to share, let us know in the comment section below.

Was this article helpful? Share it!
Michelle Tsou

Contributor at ExamCave. Michelle graduated with a BA in English from Portland State University. She hopes to one day run her own test-prep organization.