Multiple choice test tips

I’m sure you’ve taken a multiple choice test before.  You know.  The kind where you have to choose the correct answer from a list of 4 different answers: A, B, C, or D.  Although these kinds of tests look easy, they may be difficult because they are often tricky.  To increase your chances of getting a high score on one of these tests, you can apply the following tips.

1.  Because the most common answers are B and C, if you have no idea at all which answer is correct, choose one of those, but always choose the same one (either B or C).  The reason for these “guess answers” is because A is the answer only 23% of the time, and the same is true for D.  However, both B and C are the answers 27% of the time, so you have a better chance of guessing a right answer if you choose B or C.

2.  Any answer choice that’s very different from the others is wrong, and you can eliminate it as a correct answer.  The reason is because a good test maker can easily make up one or two incorrect answers that look like the correct answer, but something is always wrong.  However, even a very good test maker has trouble thinking of a third wrong answer, so what they make up is often very different than the correct answer or the two almost correct answers.


This cake tastes ____________ than the others.

a.  good
b.  better
c.  the best
d.  well

A, B and C are all part of the same adjective group, but D (an adverb) isn’t part of that group, so it can be eliminated.

3.  If two answers are almost the same, the answer is one of those two and not the others.  For example, test makers like to reverse two words in an incorrect answer, so the correct answer and this answer look almost the same.


He said to his parents, “Don’t wait up for me.”

a.  He told his parents don’t wait up for him.
b.  He told his parents to not wait up for him.
c.  He told his parents not to wait up for him.
d.  He told his parents wait not up for him.

B and C are almost the same.  Two words (not, to) are reversed in B and C.  Therefore, either one could be the right answer, and you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.  By the way, C is correct.

4.  The answer with the most repetitions in the other answers is correct.


Today there are a few clouds.  Yesterday there were more.

a.  It’s not as cloudy today as yesterday
b.  It’s more cloudy today.
c.  It’s less cloudy today as yesterday.
d.  It’s not more cloudier than yesterday.

The correct answer (A) has more repetitions than any of the other answers.  For example, It’s is repeated in all four, not is repeated in D, cloudy is repeated in B and C, today is repeated in B and C, as is repeated in C, and yesterday is repeated in C and D.

5.  There is a correct way to guess at an answer, and if you use this method, you will guess correctly more times than if you have no method at all.  First, eliminate any answer choices that you know are wrong, but only if you’re sure they’re wrong.  You don’t want to eliminate the correct answer, so be careful.  Then choose the first of the remaining answer choices.  For example, if you know that A and B are both wrong, then choose C (the first remaining answer).

Of course, there’s no substitute for studying, but if you have to, you can use these 5 tips to increase your score on any multiple choice test.

Click on the audio recording  below to hear the lesson.


tricky:  having a wrong answer that looks right or a right answer that looks wrong
score:  the number of right answers
eliminate:  to remove or get rid of
make up:  create in their minds
repetitions:  two or more of the same word
method:  way of doing something
remaining:  still there, not eliminated
substitute:  thing you can do instead

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot