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Strategies in Taking a Multiple-Choice Test (1)

Dr. Bartholomeus Budiyono

Multiple-choice tests are very popular in school-leaving exams and complimented for the objectivity and ease in scoring. Here are a few strategies in taking a multiple-choice test abstracted from the sources below.

It is important to notice how much time is allocated to doing the test to determine the intended speed and decide whether you plan to spare some time for reviewing your answers. Time mismanagement will result in a number of questions unanswered although you may feel you can answer them. Practically, decide how much time you plan to spend on answering each question, e.g., two minutes per question, with the assumption that the questions are more or less of the same level of difficulty. This planning should not be rigid when you encounter a number of easy questions that demand less time to answer. It will enable you to spend more time on answering difficult questions. For this purpose, you should start answering the easy questions and move on to the difficult ones. Avoid staying with the questions that really confuse you. Bring your watch to pace your efforts.

It is useful to exercise a few exclusion strategies in answering difficult questions. An ungrammatical option will readily be excluded, unless the test maker has been oblivious. The other readily excludable options are those that contain expressions of absoluteness, e.g., always, and every. When these expressions appear with non-absolute qualifiers, such as sometimes and frequently, you should be ready to leave away the options with absolute qualifiers, unless the items are about general truths. Make it sure whether you will be penalized for guessing. If so, leave the questions to which the answers are beyond your competence. If there is no penalty for guessing, please guess by considering the option that you have chosen the first time to be the answer or choose the grammatical option that you feel contains the complete information. This option is likely to be a bit longer than the others.

Your guessing can be guided by the positive option, i.e., a positive option may more readily be true. An option is likely to be true when it is presented with a qualifier and written a bit longer in good grammar, whereas an option that is given with unknown words and in bad grammar is likely to be incorrect.

Another exclusion strategy is necessarily required when one of the options contains “none of the above”. In this case, when you are sure that there is a correct answer, the option with “none of the above” is readily to be taken away.

Before leaving the room or submitting the test paper and the answer sheet, make sure that you have done all the questions and written your identity on the space available. If you have finished answering the questions before the time limit, you may want to review the answers to difficult questions, if necessary.

Sources:

Study Guides and Strategies Website: Multiple-Choice Test Taking Strategies http://www.studygs.net/tsttak3.htm

Tips on answering multiple choice questions: Multiple Choice Test Taking Tips
http://www.testtakingtips.com/test/multiple.htm

Test Taking Tips
http://www.testtakingtips.com/test/gentest.htm

TEST TAKING STRATEGIES – MULTIPLE-CHOICE TESTS: General Strategies
http://faculty.ccp.edu/dept/learn_lab/Ace/mcstrat.htm

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