12 tips for a high score on a multiple choice test

Updated March 12, 2015

Succeed at multiple choice tests by following these tips

1. Which of the following is most true about multiple choice exam questions?
     a. I need to answer them for continuing education classes.
     b. I think two or more answers are correct.
     c. I want to scream after reading every question.
     d. I feel like throttling the question writer.

Multiple choice exams are an inevitable part of your initial and ongoing EMS training. Good questions are based on the course objectives and content. Question writers are attempting to assess your recall of information, but often more importantly, your comprehension and ability to apply knowledge.

Here are a few of my multiple choice exam taking tips:

1. Always read the directions.

2. Ask if you can write on the test or use a piece of scratch paper.

3. Carefully read the question.

4. Underline key words in the question like — ALL, BEST, MOST, TRUE, FALSE, EXCEPT, or NEVER.

5. Circle the information that is most relevant for the question.

6. Cross out any of the information that is not relevant or is meant to distract you.

7. Think of the correct answer before looking at the choices.

8. Read all of the answers.

9. Cross out any answers that are obviously not correct.

10. Re-read the question.

11. Look for the answer that best answers the question.

12. If the correct answer is not obvious, note the question number and return to it later.

And remember this: oxygen unlocks knowledge. Don't forget to breathe during the exam. Aim for about 12-20 breaths/minute.

One more thing. Studying, class participation, reading the text book, a good night's sleep, and a healthy snack just before the exam also help quite a bit.

What are your suggestions for answering multiple choice exam questions? What works well for computer based tests? Tell us in the comments area.

About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of EMS1.com. He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by emailing him at greg.friese@ems1.com.

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