Multiple choice exams

Examples

Multiple-choice-example.gif

Expectations

Many students believe that multiple choice exams require them only to recognise true statements; however, multiple choice exams require many more skills than just recognition.  They require students to distinguish between right and wrong and also to use a variety of higher order thinking skills, such as the ability to analyse content, synthesise material, and apply knowledge, in order to determine those distinctions.

Preparation

  1. Begin study early

    Multiple choice exams require knowledge of detail, and you can’t learn details in a short time frame.  Aim to learn details as you progress through the semester and re-visit these details on a regular basis.
  2. Know work very well
    As you study your notes and readings, make lists/tables/etc and highlight key terms/dates/etc.  Revisit these throughout the semester.  These types of study strategies will assist you in making links between correct and incorrect choices in the exam.
  3. Try to answer before you read options

    This will ensure that you are not distracted by any of the other options.
  4. Eliminate most obviously wrong
    Take some choices out of the equation to make your choice easier. Ask yourself: ‘which of the options is the most accurate?’ or ‘are all parts of the question true?’.
  5. Avoid ‘never’, ‘always’ or categorical answers

    Responses that use absolute words are less likely to be correct than ones that use conditional words, such as ‘usually’ or ‘probably’.
  6. Usually best to answer in order
    This will ensure that you don’t ‘slip up’ on your answer sheet by filling in the wrong bubble for the wrong question.