Tips on Studying for Multiple Choice Exams
In many college and university classes, instructors will use multiple-choice or Scantron exams because they are much quicker and easier to grade. Can you imagine marking short-answer and essay exams for a class of three hundred? As a student, you need to learn how to effectively study for multiple-choice exams.
First, start studying early! This advice applies for all tests, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to start studying early. You are given your class schedule at the beginning of the semester, so there is simply no excuse for getting caught by surprise by the test date. Ideally, start studying at least two weeks before the exam.
Second, get copies of old multiple-choice exams for the course you are studying for. It is better if these old exams were also written by the same professor that is currently teaching your course. Don’t just read through the exam questions, but actually work through them and answer them. This will give you experience with the kinds of multiple choice questions you might expect during your actual test.
Third, there is another advantage of taking old exams. Because your time is limited, you need to be strategic about how you use your time. By answering old exams, you can now identify areas where your understanding and knowledge recall is weaker. Focus on the areas where you are less confident. Once you have brushed up on these topics, take the old exams again and see how much you’ve improved!
Fourth, do not neglect specific details. You might think that since it’s a multiple choice exam, you can figure out the correct answer by the context. This is good advice for when you are taking the exam, but do not become reliant on this. Your professor may ask questions where options (a) to (e) differ by just one or two words. For these kinds of questions, it is difficult to figure out from the question and the options what is the correct answer, if you do not know it. So make sure you study the specific details as well as the broader concepts.
The secret to acing multiple-choice exams is preparation. There is no magic. Just follow the tips above and you will find your multiple-choice exams a less stressful experience!