Multiple Choice Tests – Techniqes & Strategies – Study Tips


Hello my Socratica Friends! We’re here to
help you be a GREAT STUDENT. Which of the following is TRUE for you?
You are an excellent test taker You are afraid of multiple choice Tests
All of the above None of the above
Some of the above? You may hate multiple choice questions, but
if you want to be a GREAT STUDENT, you HAVE to learn how to handle them. You may FEEL
like you can better show your understanding by writing an essay or doing some kind of
demonstration. That may be true, but there are some kinds of understanding that multiple
choice questions are really the best tool to measure. Namely, can you make fine, logical
distinctions between closely related ideas? Or are you easily fooled by the wording of
a question? This means your understanding is not as good as you thought it was. If this
is true, STEP ONE in getting better is admitting to yourself – you need to improve. Don’t
blame the test. Don’t blame your instructor. This is about YOU. Today we’ll talk about
how to improve your understanding so you can do well, EVEN on a multiple choice test. Before you take the test, you must PREPARE
to take the test. Now, of course, our standard advice for test-taking applies – NO cramming.
Give yourself at least several days, and preferably a week – to spread out your studying for the
test. If you need advice about studying for tests IN GENERAL, we have a video about that
– see the link in the description below. In this video, we’re just going to focus on
how to prepare for MULTIPLE CHOICE tests. If there are ANY practice multiple choice
tests you can take, you NEED to take them. A practice multiple choice test is SUCH a
gift. Don’t waste this opportunity. Here’s how to use it: Take the practice test all
the way through, and answer every question. Don’t rush, but don’t agonize over any
of the questions, either. You’re just checking what you know, and what you DON’T know.
Score your test, and then ONLY study the questions you missed! Don’t keep studying the questions
you got right, even though that feels nice. You have limited time here, and that’s not
going to improve your score. Study what you DON’T know. Look up the correct information
in your textbook and class notes. Then, RE-TEST yourself – but only on the questions you missed
the first time. This may feel strange, but honestly, it’s the most efficient use of
your time. What if your instructor or your textbook has
not provided a practice test? You could look online, but it’s hard to find a test that
exactly matches the material you’ve been studying. In this situation, we recommend
you make your own practice test. You may find it quite challenging to write your own multiple
choice questions – they can’t be too obvious, or it’s not a good test question. When was
the War of 1812 – ehh..not a great question. They can’t be impossible, either: What was
George Washington’s horse’s name? It’s really unlikely that your instructor would
expect you to know EVERY piece of trivia. Focus on MAJOR pieces of information. Look
for bold vocabulary terms in your textbook and anything your instructor defined in class.
Here’s where teaming up with a classmate can really help. It can be easy to fool yourself
into thinking you know more than you do. Find a friend who also wants to be a great student,
and help each other prepare. Come up with a list of closely related information, and
test to make sure you can draw distinctions between them. Names of generals, dates of
battles. Facts. Are you ready? Let’s go into the test room.
Bring a couple of sharpened pencils and a good eraser. Are you allowed to use a calculator?
Don’t bring in anything that will get you into trouble – it’s not worth it. You’ve
worked hard – now’s your chance to show how much you know. Don’t do anything that
will jeopardize that. So show up on time and follow instructions. Now remember – the multiple choice test is
ONE way to measure how much you know, especially in terms of topics that are commonly confused.
This is different from writing essays, where you have more room to expound on ideas. Keep
to this mindset as you go into the test. Your job is to think clearly and logically. Don’t
get lost in answers that make you think “maybe…sometimes…I could possibly argue…”
uh-uh. If you want to go off on tangents, there’s a LITTLE room to do that in an essay,
but NO room for that in a multiple choice test. Your job is to choose the most logical
answer, the BEST answer, and move on. Don’t second guess yourself. Our general strategy is to make 2 passes all
the way through the test. Carefully read the instructions, and make a note of how much
time you have to take the test, and set aside about half the time for your first pass. The
first time through the test, you’ll answer the most obvious questions, and skip the questions
you’re less sure about. Make a mark on the questions you skip, so you know which ones
to come back to. Now let’s talk about the specifics of answering
multiple choice questions. How do you do it. First, and I know this seems obvious, but
I have to say it – READ the Question. Read it carefully. Tell me if you’ve seen this
happen: a student will raise their hand during a test, and ask for clarification of a question.
By the time the student re-reads the question to their instructor, they say “Oh, I get
it.” That’s a sign they haven’t read the question carefully enough. That’s your
job. Read each question very carefully. Now is NOT the time to skim. Look for important words like NOT or EXCEPT.
These will change your answer! Some questions allow for more than one possible
answer. Again, read the question carefully! Try to answer the question mentally, quickly,
before looking at the answers. Now, this may not be possible, but if an answer pops into
your head, perfect. That’s ideal. Look for the answer in the multiple choice options.
If your answer is there, and you are confident about it, pick it and move on. Continue this process, going all the way through
the test once. When you get to the end, take a moment to compose yourself – take a drink
of water, rest your eyes. Now. Second Pass. Turn back to the start of the test, and ONLY
look at the questions you skipped – the ones you made a note to come back to. Do NOT waste
your time re-reading the questions you’ve already answered. Not until you’ve answered
all the skipped questions you can. What if you come to a question where you have
absolutely no idea? Should you guess? I’m allergic to leaving a question blank. If you
get a point for every question you get right, and it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong,
go ahead and guess. BUT. IF there is a guessing penalty, and you CAN’T eliminate ANY of
the possible answers, you should skip the question. On a lot of standardized tests, there is a
minus one-quarter point penalty for a wrong answer. This is, essentially, a guessing penalty,
because the odds of your guessing the right answer out of 5 is less likely (one-fifth).
So for every 5 questions answered at random, you’ll get one of those right. But if you
can eliminate one answer, you have even odds (¼). If you can eliminate 2 answers, now
it’s more likely that you will guess the right answer (⅓). If you get down to 2 answers,
you should probably guess. Which of the two answers looks stronger? Which “feels”
right. Don’t argue with yourself. So now, let’s talk about some strategies
to use when you’re not sure about your answer. Can you eliminate some of the possibilities,
and give yourself better odds? Read all of the multiple choice answers. One
of them might be your initial gut answer. That’s probably right. But check to make
sure there isn’t another answer that is essentially identical. If you think the answer
is A) Teddy Roosevelt, and another one of the options is C) the 26th President of the
United States, you know you’re wrong. In fact, this is one way to narrow down options.
If there are 2 identical answers, they can’t both be right…unless all the answers are
synonymous, in which case, the answer should be E) all of the above. What about that “all of the above” option?
Is there a way to eliminate it? If you see two answers that are incompatible
with each other, then “all of the above” cannot be true. For example: The melting point
of Aluminum is A) the temperature at which Aluminum changes to gas B) 660 degrees Celsius
C) 840 degrees Celsius D) 1000 degrees Fahrenheit E) All of the above There’s no way the melting
point can be all 3 of these temperatures, so E) is DEFINITELY not the answer. Here’s another thought that might help,
for those questions where you have to guess. Remember that a human being wrote your test.
It wasn’t generated by a computer. Probably. That means the answer to THIS question is
probably not the same as the answer to the question immediately before or after. Here’s another hint: “None of the above”
is a surprisingly appealing answer for a test-writer. OK. You’ve made it all the way through your
test, TWICE. If you have any time left over, don’t hand in your test! Use this time wisely!
Reread ALL your answers. Check your math. Double check the questions you skipped the
first time. See if there are any questions that you were able to answer that shed new
light on some questions you were not sure about. DON’T go back and change your answer unless
you REALLY know you made a mistake. Don’t change it just because you’re second-guessing
yourself. Studies show that your first answer tends to be correct. Well. SOME studies show
that. And from personal experience, we believe it. You think you’re done now, right? But you’re
not. There’s one more step you HAVE to do, if you’re going to be a GREAT Student. When
you get back your corrected test, carefully re-read the questions you missed. Many times
I would say OF COURSE, how could I miss that! It’s because I was either careless answering
the question, or I just hadn’t really learned that piece of information. Sometimes it only
really sank in weeks later. That happens. But if there are questions you still don’t
understand, you need to do a little work here. Ask your instructor or your classmates to
explain. Find the correct information in your notes or your textbook. That question you
missed isn’t going away. Fix your knowledge gap NOW, while it’s still fresh in your
mind. Otherwise, you could easily make this mistake again – on a future assignment, or
the final. Now, move on. Don’t overstress this one
test. Ideally, a multiple choice test is a fair assessment of your understanding on THIS
day. That in no way says that you are stuck with that grade forever. Make it your mission
in life to always improve your knowledge. It’s all part of being a GREAT STUDENT. {reading test paper} Which of the following
helps Socratica make more videos? A) Liking B) Sharing C) Subscribing D) Becoming our Patron on Patreon E) All of the Above.
Oooh…I know this one… Thank you for watching!

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37 thoughts on “Multiple Choice Tests – Techniqes & Strategies – Study Tips”

  1. Shashikant Chaudhary says:

    Iam first one

  2. Sona Bright says:

    Love this.thank you

  3. Ujjwal Bisht. says:

    You are soo beautiful and your voice is just bonus !

  4. Renan Mantovani says:

    I wonder how clever the team is to make an awesome video like that. Good job guys!

  5. tarun kumar says:

    Keep it up I like your videos…

  6. Victor Chinedu says:


  7. kirby march barcena says:

    Sometimes…mini-mini-mi-ni-mo do works and a lot of good luck.

  8. Ghost7856 says:

    I have to complete three multiple choice exams (yes, exams) before the end of the month. However, they are in electronic format, so I seriously doubt that I will be going through any of them twice.

  9. Launch Pad Astronomy says:

    Funny I'm giving a multiple choice test tomorrow. Sending to my students in 3…2…1…

  10. Clint Richardson says:

    Did her voice get low at the end or is it just me?
    Also if you have 2 very similar choices the correct answer is often one of these.

  11. meLon says:

    I've never had a Multiple Choice test that I really liked. My favorite kinds of tests are those that ask you to use your understanding in novel ways (and by the end you feel like you've completed an extra chapter), and MC questions don't seem to have a broad enough scope to accommodate that.
    I have a few maths and CS tests from the past couple years that have really stood out, so much so that I'll redo questions later.

    I've also not had many MC tests, and they're often relegated to subjects that aren't important, but one CS class that had some history and programming mixed in used an MC as one of the tests. It was fun with some jokes answers, and could offer solutions to questions that you'd not consider but had the tools to assess. I had the makings of a good test, but the point system..
    You can't reward random answers, so you've gotta take points away from wrong answers. This removes the ability to attempt an answer, and get some points from what you understood (like in a proof). And the test becomes a game of maximizing points by banking on the information you have and your willingness to gamble on what you think you might know.

    There can be a lot of fun in that, but I want to be tested on my understanding of the subject and MC point systems don't give you room to risk being wrong.

  12. Mohammad L says:

    Socratica contents is always true 🤓.

  13. Composing Gloves says:

    I'm all for taking responsibility for my results but some of the laziest questions have been on these exams. Thing like where the difference between questions is just spelling or its worded in a way where more than one is right but in a super vague way. In some cases the instructor has been mixed up by their own exam. I usually do very well, but so far the only place I've seen these tests and been happy with them is classes like logic, or math (even here it's only a piece of the test) not classes where essays are far better. I don't think it's a coincidence that the higher if your field you go the more these tests vanish.

  14. William Franklin says:

    Não entendi nada :-/

  15. Google Google says:

    1) Napoleone Bonaparte WAS NOT a "famous Italian painter"!
    2) Leonardo Da Vinci most famous paint WAS NOT "the first helicopter!" 🙊🙈😅😅😅😅

  16. Tahititoutou says:

    There is something I really HATE about multiple choice tests : when none of the choices is the right answer. Something like
    Select the right answer: which of the following is the national anthem of the European Union
    A) Fratelli d'Italia
    B) God save the Queen
    C) The International
    D) La Marseillaise
    E) Star-spangled banner

    (If you care to know, the answer is Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the choral in the 4th movement of his 9th symphony)

  17. helmet hair says:

    i always love your tips!!

  18. Sahil Shende says:

    Jee students (India) be careful u r giving physics chemistry and mathematics. If answers pop in u r head its definitely wrong okay..

  19. Adam says:

    Hopefully, I'll past my 4 tests (one is problem solving for physical chemistry) and one final next week.Thanks for the advice!

  20. Márcio José da Silva says:

    Vou comentar em bom português pessoal do Socrática (uma vez que sou de Itaquaquecetuba – extremo da zona leste em São Paulo, rs), lá vai meu comentário: "Video foda pra caralho, se você MANJA inglês, assiste esse video porra pra ontem!!! That's all folks, kkkkkkkkkkkkk (eu sempre quis dizer isso, ou melhor, neste caso escrever, rs)

  21. baka baka says:

    Hello my Socratica beautiful! Multi choice is easy because you take all the answered and compare them together. Use common sense in a real work example.

  22. Parthasarathy Venkatachari says:

    Nice video and could post videos of number theory and modular arithmetic for cryptography

  23. Heisenberg says:

    Thank you so much. From Thailand.

  24. Michael Fortner says:

    When I was a student, I found that most teachers are pretty bad at writing wrong answers to multiple choice questions. There are often symmetries between the answers that suggest which answer they started with (the correct one) which let's you eliminate some or all without prior knowledge. The very hardest (least gameable) multiple choice exam I ever took was a freshman macroeconomics final in college. Every question was formulated as a pair of specific, usually unrelated statements of fact. Every answer was "1 is false and 2 is false", "1 is false and 2 is true", etc for all 4 combinations. It was BRUTAL. Great course, though.

  25. Berke Oral says:

    8:00 Melting point of alemiunium can have different values on different pressure levels 🙂

  26. GoBanG TODAY says:


  27. Nadiel Barbosa says:

    What is the music played?

  28. gwt it says:

    Mam plz resume ur python series as i have take computer science as optional subject and ur teaching way is good so plz mam resume it again.

  29. Puw DaBeast says:

    Liliana no way you are 40…………….

  30. Abhishek Shukla says:

    The way she speaks is quite intimidating and yet agreeable
    Quintessential content….

  31. Diego D'Oliveira says:

    Extrañamos a socratica español 😢

  32. T-800 says:

    Dude I think m in love she is so gorgeous 😍😍😍

  33. Aghil Salehi says:

    Can I introduce a very fantastic method to memorize materials, facts and even learn a new language with?
    That's an organized method of using flashcard, that you would NOT forget what you have just studied anytime.

  34. Sumit Kr says:

    Hello mam….. I am from india and currently I am studying in IIT Delhi ( Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)….. I just wanted to request you if you can please upload the B. Tech 1st year course of mathematics….

  35. fadetounforgiven says:

    I think I never failed a multiple choice test, I used to like them. At least until the last (or one of the last ones) I ever took, which every single question had something like:
    a) whatever
    b) whatever else.
    c) something else completely
    d) even something else.
    e) none or several of the above

  36. Muhammad Junaid Ali says:


  37. Socratica says:

    Welcome to Socratica! We make SMART videos focusing on STEM – science, math, programming. Subscribe here:

    Our study tips playlist is here:

    Python programming:

    SQL programming:


    Abstract Algebra:




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