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Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions on Standardized Tests

Test takers sometimes have problems with multiple choice questions because they allow themselves to believe that these types of questions are easier than other types, and so don’t pay close enough attention to the details of each question. It is very important for testers to pay close attention to every word of standardized test questions, no matter how the questions are formatted.

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Mastering standardized test taking strategies for multiple choice questions is a key component to successful standardized testing. The following tips for answering multiple choice questions can be very beneficial the next time you take a standardized test.

Standardized Test Taking Tips for Multiple Choice Questions

Make sure you understand the instruction clearly. For example, should you choose the best answer, or are you supposed to be identifying an alternative that is false?

  • Pay attention to every detail in the question.
  • Read each question as if you had to answer it without choosing from a list of alternative answers.
  • Try to answer the question first without looking at the list of choices.
  • If you know the answer, select it from the list of choices and move on.
  • If you don’t know the answer, look at the choices and use the process of elimination to narrow down choices.
  • Verify whether or not there is an "all of the above" or "none of the above" choice before selecting your first choice answer.
  • Use the true/false technique to help you select between two similar answers. (Translate the question into a statement with each of the possible answers, and select one that is true.)
  • If wrong answers don’t count against your test score, don’t leave any questions blank. There is always a (slight) chance of guessing the right answer.
  • If wrong answers count against you, don’t take wild guesses. Educated guesses are likely to work in your favor a portion of the time, but wild guesses can really hurt you.

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