Test-taking Strategies: Multiple Choice

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12544

Taking a test not only tests your knowledge; it can be a test of your nerves as well! If taking a multiple choice test scares you, completing this lesson is the best choice for building up confidence!


Practical Life Skills

Life Skills
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


How would you narrow down the multiple choice responses until you found the correct answer to the following question?

Have you ever felt nervous before taking a test?

Most people experience nervousness or stress before taking a test at some point in their life. Happily, there are a few tips and strategies you can use to make test-taking easier and help relieve any stress you might be feeling.

In this lesson, you will learn some tips for successfully taking multiple choice tests. A multiple choice question features a question followed by several options to choose from. Most of the time, you will find four options to choose from, but there can be more or fewer than four. Often, multiple choice item writers will write one correct option, one option that is entirely incorrect, and two options that have some connection to the question but are incorrect.

In a journal or on a separate piece of paper, write a few sentences about a time you took a multiple choice test.

  • What parts of the test did you find challenging?
  • What emotions did you feel while taking the test?
  • How did you do on the test?

Discuss your writing with your teacher or parent.

Multiple choice items can be tricky because the other options can throw you off or cause you to question yourself. Use these tips and strategies to help you when taking a multiple choice test:

  • Read the question before looking at the answer choices. Try to think of the answer to the question before looking at your options. If the answer you thought of is listed, it is likely correct.
  • Make sure to read all of the choices before selecting your answer.
  • If you are uncertain what the correct answer is, cross out the items you know are incorrect. Then, just focus on the items that you think could be a possibility.
  • Often, there is one option that is totally incorrect. Make sure to cross this option out straight away.
  • Context clues are hints the question or story related to a question provide. Often, you will need to use context clues to determine the answer to a multiple choice question because the correct answer may not be written exactly the same way you have seen it in other places.
  • After you have crossed out the items you know to be incorrect, ask yourself how each of the possible answers relates to the question. Look for words such as "mostly," "most likely," and "best" in the question. These words indicate that more than one answer could potentially be correct, but you need to select the one that makes the most sense. If you are having trouble narrowing down two options, select the one that best relates to the question.
  • Trust your initial thoughts and instincts! Often, the first thought you have is the correct one.

Look at the question from the beginning of the lesson. Did you use any of these strategies when you were determining the correct answer to the question? In the question, you see the word "mostly." This means that cream and sugar is probably used in more than one of the food items listed, but one of the items uses more cream and sugar than the others. As you looked at the options, you should have quickly identified that cream and sugar are not used at all in spaghetti, and crossed that option out. As you examined the other options, you should have determined that cream and sugar are used in some cake and sugar cookie recipes, but those are always the main ingredients in ice cream.

Sometimes, multiple choice questions will give an added challenge, such as instructing you to select more than one answer, providing an option that reads "All of the above," or an option that reads "None of the above." If you encounter a multiple choice question with one of these added challenges, do not worry!

  • If the question instructs you to select more than one answer, read carefully to see if it tells you how many items to select. If it does not provide a specific answer, use the same strategies listed above. Cross out the options you know to be wrong until you are left with only options you believe to be correct.
  • If the question provides an option that reads "All of the above," and you see at least two options that could be correct, "All of the above" is probably the correct answer.
  • If the question provides an option that reads "None of the above," and you see at least one item you know is correct, "None of the above" is not the correct answer.

Now, you will watch a short video that will provide some additional strategies and practice questions. As you watch Answering Multiple Choice Questions by Heart Lake Literacy, take notes on any new strategies that are introduced. When the video gets to the practice questions, pause the video and use the strategies you have learned to answer the questions. Then, push play to see the correct answers. Watch now to continue learning tips for multiple choice success!


After you finish watching the video, review the list you created with your teacher or parent. How can each of the strategies you wrote down help you be a better test taker? Add any additional multiple choice test-taking tips to your list that you can think of.

Then, move on to the Got It? section to use the strategies you have learned to take a multiple choice test.

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