Multiple Choice Madness - 7 Sneaky Tactics For Making The Right Choice 😈
Multiple choice questions are super fun or total hell and there's no in-between. The following tips and strategies are methods we suggest you use if all else fails. Obviously, every tip doesn't apply in every situation, so please take everything with a grain of salt.
That being said, many of the following points are backed by an actual study by William Poundstone, author of "A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Almost Everybody," who claims to have found several common patterns in multiple-choice tests...
1. All Or None ⬆️
One of the first things Poundstone found was that the answers "none of the above" or "all of the above" were correct 52% of the time. In fact, choosing one of these answers gives you a 90% improvement over random guessing, he says.
Since you can't use a phrase like "all of the above" if the answers are heavily opposing each other, there are only two situations in which this phrase can be used: A) If it's actually the correct answer, or B) If examiners want to throw you off from choosing one correct answer among a group of similar answers. So the 52% statistic actually makes a lot of sense.
2. Three In A Row 🎶
The next thing Poundstone found was that correct answer choices rarely followed each other consecutively. This means that looking at the answers you are sure of may help you better guess the harder ones.
Now obviously, this tactic is not foolproof and should only be used if you really have no clue, but if you think about it, it does make sense that examiners would tend to choose a pattern like A C B C A B A and stay away from ones like A A A B B C C.
3. Wrong Answers Usually Aren't Detailed 🤔
It was also noted that the longest answer on multiple-choice tests usually turned out to be correct. "Test makers have to make sure that right answers are indisputably right," Poundstone says. "Often this demands some qualifying language. They may not try so hard with wrong answers." Which makes sense.
Therefore, if you notice one answer is considerably longer than the others, it may be a good pick to bet on if you're stuck.
4. Only The Best 🏆
An important strategy to keep in mind is to focus on choosing the best possible answer. Many times, there will be a few answers that seem correct, or that could be good enough, but they aren't the best answer among the choices.
This goes back to the examiners adding extra details to answers that are correct, because the option with the most details is likely to be fully explaining the correct concept.
5. Create A Model 💃
Answer-bias is a real thing, so before reading said answers, try and come up with the correct answer in your head first. Then, use that ideal answer as a model against the available choices.
This can help you avoid falling into any traps set by crafty examiners.
6. Narrow It Down ✌️
Eliminating answers to narrow down your choices will save you loads of time, it's way easier to choose between 2 options than to choose between 6. Once you've eliminated the obviously wrong answers, go back to the question & check for any particular words that are used, usually questions are created very carefully and every word is written for a reason.
So, remind yourself what you're looking for in a correct response & go for it.
7. Read. VERY. Carefully. 😬
We can't stress this one enough. It's easy to see a couple of keywords and assume what a question is asking, but more often than not that'll cost you marks. A single word like “consistently” or “except” could change the meaning of an entire question.
Also, always make sure you answer the questions you know first, as future questions may give you insight or remind you of things in previous question you were stuck on.