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The goal in a multiple-choice exam is to answer as many questions correctly as possible. Treat each question as if it decided your final grade.

Practice this step-by-step approach on sample questions.

  1. Read the question and the answer options carefully.
  2. Circle or underline the qualifying words in the question: almost, sometimes, never, etc.
  3. Identify what the question is actually asking; it's usually found at the end of the question. Repeat the actual question in your mind (even in your own words) before going to the options.
  4. Treat each option as a true or false answer. Starting with the first option, repeat the actual question, read the option and mark it accordingly. Continue through the rest of the options.
  5. When you can't decide between options, go with what you know. Avoid choosing based on unfamiliarity or numbers/statistics (going with what you don't know). If an option "rings any small bells," choose it.
  6. Answer each question; do not leave any unanswered.
  7. Mark questions that you are unsure about, using marks that denote: little, somewhat, very. This will save you time when you look over your test.
  8. Do not change your initial answer unless you have a specific reason for doing so. Most changed answers go from the right answer to the wrong answer. Trust your first response.
  9. If time runs out and you have questions unanswered, choose your favorite letter and use that letter for those questions. Don't be random.

"Taking Multiple Choice Tests." Academic Skills Center, Dartmouth College 2001

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