Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions

Taking tests can be stressful, but knowing how to tackle them is half the battle. Many tests cover a variety of questions, such as true or false, short answers, and essays. However, this post will heavily focus on strategies for answering multiple-choice questions.

Here are some noteworthy tips that will help you ace your tests:

Read the entire question

Many students rush through tests by skimming questions, and this can lead to overlooking important details and misreading questions. Make sure to read every question thoroughly and, if necessary, read it twice or thrice over. Underline key information in the question-and-answer choices, making sure to catch words like “not” and “except” as these tend to confuse students. Misreading the question can sometimes cause you to choose the answer opposite of the correct one. By taking your time and highlighting key words in the question, you will find it easier to spot catch words that are meant to trick you.

Read every answer option

It might sound like a simple point, but many students make the common mistake of not reading every answer option thoroughly or even at all. Remember that your question is asking something specific and some of the answers are designed to confuse you. So, don’t rush through your choices and assume you have the answer. Instead, take the time to read every answer, so you will be able to choose the best one.

Use process of elimination

Using the process of elimination strategy is effective in removing all of the answers you know are incorrect, allowing you to narrow down the best possible answer. This cuts your time in half and allows you to dedicate more time to finish more time-consuming parts of the test, like the short answer or long essay questions.

Answer the questions you know first

Completing the questions you know the answers to first is not only an efficient use of your time, but it also boosts your self-esteem. In doing so, you can leave room to work on more difficult multiple-choice questions or the writing portions of the test.

Pay attention to key words

Certain words will stand out in your question and choices, and these will help guide you to the correct response. Look out for words such as always, sometimes, and never. Phrases that include the word always are most likely the incorrect answer, since it is an absolute, and words like sometimes are most likely found in correct answers.

Stick with your first choice

Students sometimes trust their intuition and answer the question with their first choice. Doing this might not always help you choose the best answer, but tests are designed to assess your knowledge, and if you studied and are inclined to choose a specific answer, stick with it. Second guessing yourself might prove counterproductive and take up a lot of your time.

Pay attention to lengthy answer choices

More often than not, the correct answer contains more information than the other options. If teachers are putting a lot of context into this answer, you can bet that this is the best choice.

Leave time for review

Looking over your answers is so important as many students rush to try to finish earlier. Leaving enough time to review is crucial, as you could have hastily answered a question without truly understanding what it was asking. So, take some time, even as much as 10 minutes after you’ve completed the test, to do a thorough check on your responses.


My tips on answering multiple-choice questions will guarantee a successful mark on your test. Always keep in mind, as you do your test, to keep an even pace, so you have enough time to complete each question. Stay calm, and don’t give up. Tackle the easy questions first, and, if you’re not sure, try to make an educated guess. Most importantly, review your answers, as it is integral to ensuring you haven’t misread any question and answer option.

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The Literary Tutor

We are English tutors helping students ignite their imagination through reading and discover their unique voice through writing.

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