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Multiple Choice questions usually include a phrase or stem followed by three to five options.

Read the directions carefully.

bulletKnow if each question has one or more correct option. bulletKnow if you are penalized for guessing. bulletKnow how much time is allowed since this governs your strategy.

Preview the test.

bulletRead through the test quickly and answer the easiest questions first. bullet

Mark those you think you know in some way that is appropriate.

Read through the test a second time and answer more difficult questions.

bulletYou may pick up cues for answers from the first reading, or become more comfortable in the testing situation.

If time allows, review both questions and answers.


It is possible you misread questions the first time.

Answering options:

Improve your odds—think critically.


Cover the options, read the stem, and try to answer. bullet

Select the option that most closely matches your answer. bullet

Read the stem with each option. bullet

Treat each option as a true-false question, and choose the "most true."

Strategies to answer difficult questions:

Eliminate options you know to be incorrect.


If allowed, mark words or alternatives in questions that eliminate the option.

Give each option of a question the "true-false test."


This may reduce your selection to the best answer.

Question options that grammatically don’t fit with the stem.

Question options that are totally unfamiliar to you.

Question options that contain negative or absolute words.


Try substituting a qualified term for the absolute one, like frequently for always; or typical for every to see if you can eliminate it.

"All of the above"


If you know two of the three options seem correct, "all of the above" is a strong possibility.

Number answers


Toss out the high and low and consider the middle range numbers.

"Look alike options"


Probably one is correct; choose the best, but eliminate choices that mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each other out.

Double negatives


Create the equivalent positive statement and consider.

Echo options


If two options are opposite each other, chances are one of them is correct.

Favor options that contain qualifiers.


The result is longer, more inclusive items that better fill the role of the answer.

If two alternatives seem correct, compare them for differences, and then refer to the stem to find your best answer.




Always guess when there is no penalty for guessing, or you can eliminate options. bullet

Don’t guess if you are penalized for guessing, or if you have no basis for your choice. bullet

Use hints from questions you know to answer questions you do not know. bullet

Change your first answers only when you are sure of the correction, or when other cues in the test cue you to change.


Remember that you are looking for the BEST answer, not only a correct one, and not one which must be true all of the time, in all cases, and without exception.

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Last modified: 04/01/15