OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Monday, December 23


QUESTION: How do you guys study for Multiple Choice exams? I consistently get terrible grades (barely passing..) on tests/exams that are entirely multiple choice no matter how well I think I know the material.

I do well on essays and other assignments in the courses so I don't feel as if I really only know about half of the course material. Tips?


  1. I think the best advice I have to give is to read the questions thoroughly. A lot of the time I'll jump to circle one answer, but then realize that the wording in the question was a bit trickier than I had anticipated.

  2. Try doing practice problems if you can find them. I had a similar problem to this... but once you do enough problems, you tend to do progressively better

    Practice makes perfect =)

  3. I've perfected the following technique over the last three years. It works quite well. ***For parts 1) and 2), cover the answers completely with one of your hands!***
    1) Read the question once CAREFULLY (i.e. understand thoroughly what is being asked). Use a pencil and highlighter for this part if this helps you. It certainly helps me.
    2) Try to predict the correct answer quickly (do not spend much time on this part..)
    3) Remove the hand covering the answers. Immediately, and with a pencil, lightly circle the answer that spontaneously makes the most sense based on what's going on in your head at this point in time.
    4) Now, pause for a few seconds, then re-read the question again carefully, but faster. In the back of your mind, try to 'catch' any possible "tricks" the Professor may have included in the question. If you don't find any such tricks in this part, and your first answer makes good sense in the context of the question, then do not waste any more time on this question. Move on. However, if you do catch a "trick" and now you're torn between two possible answers, mark your second answer with a sign that you'll recognize when you come to review your exam at the end. Move on.
    5) Do the above four processes for each question on the whole exam, only looking at one question at a time - ALWAYS ONE AT A TIME!
    6) Take a deep breath & close your eyes for a few seconds. Then look into the distance for about 30 seconds to "re-set" your vision. Now, typically, I have about 10 - 15 minutes left to review, and about 15 questions for every 60 questions in which I'm torn between two possible answers that I've indicated in part 4). Re-do parts 1)-4) for these questions first. Hopefully the better answer will "jump-out" at you at this point in time; if it doesn't for a given question, move on.
    7) Time is sort of running out, so for those 3-5 questions which you're killing yourself over, pick what you think is best, and make sure you have an answer for every single question on your Scranton. If time permits, run over the questions you only had one answer for, and feel confident about.
    Things that work for me, but not necessarily you:
    - fill in the Scranton as you go, but if you need to make a change, use a very good eraser (worth investing in one of these).
    - USUALLY my first guess is the correct answer. "Usually", for me, means about 70% of the time. So, if it becomes clear that you screwed up on a question, but you thought you knew it at first, obviously change your answer to the obviously correct one.
    - I always stay to the very end of the exam, no matter what. I could be the only person left, but I will never voluntarily hand in my paper. They have to take it away from me once time is up. Note: this point certainly may not apply to you, but maybe something you can consider as well.

  4. depends what the MC material is on (Qualitative or quantitative?)
    Qualitative -> I usually read the WHOLE textbook/ assigned chapters at least once
    Quantitative -> I learn how to do the math
    I find that reading the textbook helps since I can usually easily recall what the right answer is. Otherwise, I make a good guess :) I really hope this helps. I know some people learn from other people's condensed notes, but I do much better by reading the material instead of the notes.

  5. Although many people prbably don't like this method I go through all the questions quickly at first doing the ones that I know right off the bat because there's always a few that you will definitely know. After that I go through the ones I didn't know and rule out the options that I know aren't right since sometimes there are answers that are obviously not correct. By ruling out some answers it makes it easier to determine what the right possible answer could be.

    Basically for studying for the method I make sure that I can identify the right terminology/answer to certain processes(I'm in biology). I also find that for some courses that doing practice questions in the textbook help because if you can answer it in short answer and detail form you should be able to answer it in multiple choice.

    Multiple choice exams are tricky because there is only a right or wrong. I know in my first year my grades suffered a lot because I hated multiple choice and didn't know how to do them. However, with practice and finding what works for you, you will succeed.

  6. 1.) Cover up the answers
    2.) Read the question and answer it like a short answer question

    If you really know the material, this shouldn't be a problem

  7. When in doubt, pick C!

  8. I cover the answers with my scantron card, usually underline key points or tricks in the questions. I uncover one answer at a time and cross it out if it's definitely not right. Once I answer the question, I fill in the bubble on my scantron.

    When I'm done, I thoroughly go though my questions once, also checking to see if I bubbled it in correctly (You wouldn't believe how much times in my nervousness I've bubbled in b instead of d or something -- easy marks lost!).

    Unlike what one person said above, I never stay until the end. It only makes me nervous. After i go through it once thoroughly, I leave. The more I look over my answers, the more I second guess myself and change answers I was sure of before. When I'm done, I'm done. No need to stay and stress myself out.

    This as worked for me. I went to 75-80 average to a 85-90 in one year.