Learning skills: Multiple choice questions

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Multiple choice questions

When answering multiple choice questions:

  • Read the directions – is there a penalty for guessing?
  • Read the question carefully to see if there are any clues.
  • Try to answer the question without looking at any of the options first.
  • Read all the options, even if you think you know the answer.
  • Cross out options you know are wrong.
  • Think about each option, one at a time, and ask yourself if it is true or false.
  • Think about whether the options refer to something you studied in the course.
  • Watch for negatives, extremes, and qualifiers (always, never, only, etc.) as they might give you a clue to the answer.
  • Silly options are usually wrong.
  • Watch for combination options like "all of the above" or "none of the above". Consider each option individually before choosing a combination option.
  • Make a note of questions you don’t get on the first read through so that you can come back to them.
  • Work quickly.
  • Return to marked questions. Later questions in the test may give you tips to the answer.
  • When in doubt, and if it's permitted, guess. Don't leave a question blank.
    (Source: Roberta Mason, RRU)

Creative Commons

Information within this guide was adapted from the University of Guelph's A Guide to University Learning and from information provided by Roberta Mason, Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, Royal Roads University. These materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.