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The Best Multiple Choice Test Taking Skills

Multiple choice tests will come up often during your education. Entrance exams like the SAT and ACT will definitely have them, but so will finals exams, and other quizzes and tests. Having a few strategies in your back pocket can help you achieve your best on these types of exams.

Read The Questions Thoroughly

Always read the whole question. On a timed exam you may be tempted to skim and pick the obvious answer, but wording is often important on these types of exams. A small detail could cost you the right answer. Read the question all the way through before your choose your answer. As you read the question, look for keywords such as always, never, none, or best. These words will help you clue into the right answer, and their opposite is likely to be a choice, just in case you weren’t paying attention.


If you don’t know an answer, eliminate any wrong answers. You may not be able to pick out the right answer, but if you can find even two wrong answers, you have a much better chance of getting the question right. Work backwards to help eliminate answers. Choose a possibility and plug it into the question. Working this way will help you see whether or not an answer is a possibility.

Eliminate Based on Other Answers

An article from Business Insider cites a researcher that found answers are rarely repeated consecutively. This means if you know the answer was B for the previous question, and the answer was C for the next question, you should probably choose A or D. Only use this strategy if you have no idea what the answer could be.

All or None

“All of the above” or “None of the above” are more often the correct choice than not. Don’t be afraid to pick these if it seems like two answers are plausible, or no answer is plausible. It is a safe bet that this option is a correct choice.


Knowledge and preparation always trump guessing strategies. No method for guessing can outweigh knowing the answer. Be sure to put in time studying so that you won’t have to fall back on these strategies. If you get stuck, there is hope. Pull out these strategies to get going again and to prevent wasting time agonizing over answers.


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