Multiple Choice or Objective exams are based on your ability to recognise facts. Objective exams can be different in style. For example, multiple choice, true-false, matching and sentence completion are all objective exams.
See our resource Studying for Exams: Some Basic Guidelines for study tips.
Before you pick up a pen, read all directions carefully
Be sure exactly what you have to do and listen for any verbal directions or corrections from the exam supervisor.
Read quickly through the exam
Before you attempt any answers, skim quickly through the entire exam. Doing this allows you to gain an overview of the exam, plan your time (how long to spend on each section or question) and to check that your exam is complete and correctly collated.
When using a separate answer sheet...
keep it close to the exam booklet on the same side as whichever hand you write with. Check frequently that you are answering a question in its properly numbered space.
Answer the 'easy' questions first
Try not to get stuck on any hard questions. You will waste time and feel anxious. Go back and do the hard ones later.
Read each question carefully
In objective tests the wording of the question and potential answers can be tricky. Each word is important so it’s vital to read and thoroughly understand each question and the various responses to it.
Consider all the options before choosing your answer, even if the first option seems correct. This is important when you have to choose the ‘best’ or ‘most correct’ answer in some multiple choice exams.
Take special note of phrasing, such as
Try to supply your own answer before reading the options provided
Read the question and cover the choices provided with your hand. Try to answer the question yourself. Then read through the choices. Doing this allows you to make a clearer and more accurate choice.
Accept the questions at face value
Read the questions (and the language used) carefully, but don’t assume they contain any ‘tricks’. Reading too much into a question usually results in a wrong answer.
Don’t leave any questions unanswered
Unless there is a marks penalty for incorrect answers, always at least make a calculated guess.
Be alert for grammatical inconsistencies between the question and the
A choice is nearly always wrong if the question and the answer don’t combine to make a grammatically correct sentence.
Do not change your original answer
In most cases your intuition is correct. Only change your answer if you have a very strong hunch that it’s wrong, you find new evidence, or suddenly remember otherwise.
'True-false' questions usually consist of a statement which is either correct or incorrect. You then answer true (if you think a statement is correct) or false (if you think a statement is incorrect).
Narrow your choice down to which of the answer options is most likely to be correct. This helps you take your 'best guess'.
Use a process of elimination. Multiple choice questions usually contain one or two answer options that are obviously incorrect. Eliminate these first. If you still need to guess the correct answer from the remaining options, you’ll have a better chance of getting it right.
Rule out options that are completely unfamiliar to you, especially if they use unfamiliar vocabulary terminology or concepts.
Humorous or absurd answer options are usually incorrect.
Eliminate options that contain exact or absolute words. Words like always, every, never mean that there is no exception. Therefore, if you can think of one exception, statements that include these words are incorrect or false. Favour options that contain qualifiers (mostly, sometimes, rarely, seldom).
If you know more than one option is correct, an ‘all of the above’ option may be a good choice.
For number answers, avoid extremes and favour options in the middle-range.
Consider look-alike options carefully. If two of the alternatives are similar, one is likely to be correct; choose the best but eliminate choices that mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each other out.
Please note: there are no guarantees with these strategies, but they are worth considering when you really don’t know 'the answer'.