11 March, 2019 in Academic

How to Answer Multiple Choice Questions Efficiently

How to Answer Multiple Choice Questions Efficiently

The tests including MCQ demand special attention. When reading the given questions, you have to make certain you understand them properly. Otherwise, you will not be able to pick correct answers to each of the queries. In case you know a suitable answer to the question, mark it and keep answering the following items.

If you do not know how to answer multiple choice questions, you should follow specific multiple choice test taking strategies. First, exclude the variants which you consider absolutely wrong. Once two options are left and you do not know which of them is correct, you will be supposed to make a guess.

Fundamental Rules for Composing and Answering MCQ

Rule № 1. Understand the key point of the questions

Multiple choice questions are sometimes considered an inappropriate means of evaluating students’ knowledge. Teachers may choose other tools for testing students’ abilities. For example, you may ask them to analyze data, highlight the peculiarities of the issues by comparing and contrasting them, etc.

Rule № 2. Build simple sentences and avoid ambiguous statements

MCQ should be based on a simple structure. It is essential to use the words in their exact meaning to avoid confusion.

Rule № 3. Put the majority of the words in the stem of the question

In case you use a question stem, ensure that the majority of words are presented in the very stem. Thus, it will be easier for students to choose a correct response option.

Rule № 4. Make the wrong options reasonable

Bear in mind that incorrect response variants should be plausible. Though it can be quite challenging to pick such options, you should strive mightily to do it, as the multiple choice tests with the answers that are irrelevant to the topic can be considered invalid.

Rule № 5. Make the multiple choice answers the same in length

The length of the answer options may help students determine a correct variant. Usually, a suitable response is the longest one. If you cannot provide the responses of the same length, make two of them short and the other two – long.

Rule № 6. Do not use double negations

When creating multiple choice questions, you should not use the words with the prefix un- together with such conjunctions as nor, not, no, etc. For instance, the following question would confuse students if it was included in the test: “What statements are not regarded unacceptable at the formal meeting?” Such a question should be rewritten in the positive mode: “What statements are regarded acceptable at the formal meeting?”

Rule № 7. Change the positions of the correct response options

Make sure that the majority of correct options are located in different positions. If you place suitable responses under the same letter, e.g., “a” or “d,” the test-takers will easily detect them. Therefore, look through the created test to ensure the correct variants are positioned randomly.

Rule № 8. Set an equal number of responses for all queries

When creating the tests consisting of MCQ, remember to keep the number of answers to each question the same. It will aid students to realize how to take a multiple choice test. It should be noted that the most appropriate number of options is not identified. Therefore, it is up to you to decide how many response variants to create. In the majority of cases, multiple choice questions include 4 answer options.

Rule № 9. Do not trick the test-takers

It is clear that tests are meant to assess the knowledge of test-takers. Therefore, in order to get precise results, you should not bewilder students by posing tricky questions. If the query or its answers can be interpreted in a few ways, rephrase them to avoid ambiguity.

Rule № 10. “All of the above” and “None of the above” options

It is often said that the aforementioned statements should be used with great caution. However, they are very helpful in some cases. Let us discuss the matter in detail. First, the “All of the above” option can serve as a bonus item (it greatly facilitates the answering process). In addition, such a variant can stimulate students to guess the answer to a specific question if they are unsure of what option to choose. As to the “None of the above” option, it cannot help professors find out whether students know an appropriate response to the posed question or not.

Rule № 11. Assess the answer options

Once the type of a question is identified, you will need to evaluate the response options. Usually, the provided variants include a clear hint about which one is correct. If you see that the suggested options are somewhat strange or irrelevant to the subject, which the question is focused on, you should read the question once again. Note that if you have attended all lectures and learn the material provided by your professor, the suggested response alternatives should be familiar to you. It happens quite rarely that the posed question may have the answer variants which you have never heard of in class. When dealing with such an assignment, your main task is to choose a correct response to each of the queries. Therefore, when responding to MCQ, ensure that the picked option is the best match for a specific question.

Rule № 12. Cross out wrong responses

This rule is connected with the previous one. When doing multiple choice assignments, you will see that some of the offered answer options have nothing to do with the posed question. Such weird options have to be eliminated at once. By removing inappropriate answers, you will manage to detect the only possible option.


By reading the aforementioned rules, it becomes clear that dealing with MCQ is not easy. In order to get the best results in such an assignment, you need to:

  • prepare properly;
  • attend classes;
  • practice answering different kinds of questions;
  • devise your own technique for answering MCQ;
  • be attentive in the exam;
  • think the answers over;
  • use an appropriate method for handling MCQ;
  • respond to all questions.

By following the presented algorithm, you will realize how to answer multiple choice questions in the best way and get the desirable grade.