ChoosingHaven't talked much on these pages about the basics of taking a multiple choice test. are nine basics, from ehow's How to Take a Multiple Choice Test.

1)  Read the question, and close your eyes. The idea behind this technique is to see if you can answer the question yourself before looking at the choices. Since many teachers and test makers delight in making the answers confusing, using your own brain before looking at the answers gives you confidence in a correct answer.
2) Reread the question-carefully. Sometimes the quickest test takers make mistakes because they assumed they knew the question asked. Slow down and read the question, one word at a time. It takes a little longer, but you'll be surprised how much more you'll understand.
3) Eliminate the obvious wrong answers. In some questions, it's clear that one or two answers are definitely wrong, but most teachers and test makers are smarter than that. They will often put almost identical answers as choices. When you're sure an answer does not qualify, cross it out and start on the process of eliminating another one.
4) Take the test methodically. On a typical multiple choice test, work through each problem. If you really don't know the answer, make your best guess, and put a mark by the number. This way, if time runs out, at least you'll have a shot at the correct answer.
5) Change your answer if you think it's wrong. The old advice to "stay with your first intuition" is fine, except sometimes you remember a fact or detail that makes you think that answer was wrong.
6) Collect your thoughts. You can become so entrenched in test taking that you forget to analyze the questions and answers. If you're a nervous test taker, stop after a few minutes, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for half a minute. You will be more relaxed and find it easier to concentrate.
7) Look for repeated words if you have no idea what the answer is. Guessing on a question is an art form. Although there is no guarantee, an answer that contains one of the same words as the question has better odds of being correct.
8) Go for the long answer. When you don't have a clue, eliminate the obvious wrong answers and choose the longest answer of the remaining ones. This increases your odds of getting the answer correct, but only on teacher-made tests. National standardized tests purposely avoid this tactic.
9) Bypass an answer if it has a typo. Teachers are pressed for time, and when they create a test, they proofread it; at least they proofread the question and the correct answer. If you see a typo, it may suggest the teacher didn't take the time to reread that answer because it wasn't the correct one.

November 10, 2009
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