Studying for a Multiple-Choice Test

Studying for a Multiple-Choice TestEssay tests assess your mastery of things and overall ideas. When you study for an essay test, your goal should be to recall broad information in an organized way so that you can produce an answer. Multiple-choice tests, in contrast, require you to recognize a correct answer among a set of options. You should study differently for a multiple-choice test than the way in which you study for an essay test.

Here are some things you should do when studying for a multiple-choice test.

  • Assemble all of the materials that contain the information that will be covered on the test. This includes your textbook, your textbook notes, your class notes, and any teacher handouts.
  • Ask your teacher what content areas will be emphasized on the test.
  • During classes that lead up to the test, be attentive for clues that something will probably be on the test. Examples of clues include anything the teacher repeats, writes on the board, or asks a question about.
  • Reduce the information to be covered on the test to short, specific questions that can be answered in a few words or a sentence.
  • Write each question on its own index card. Write the answer to the question as briefly as possible on the back of the card.
  • Review the questions and answers on the cards as often as possible. Because success on a multiple-choice test requires recognition, overlearning is important.
  • Learn the meanings of any words or terms you are unsure about. Use the glossary of your textbook and a print or online dictionary to do this.
  • Read the portions of your textbook that will be covered on the test as often as possible. It is not unusual for a correct answer choice on a multiple-choice test to be similar to the way in which information is written in the textbook. Reading your textbook frequently will make you familiar with this language.
  • Review any previously returned multiple-choice tests. Doing this will help you recognize the types of items your teacher writes as well as the kinds of errors you may have made.

The key to success when studying for a multiple-choice test is to keep in mind that success requires recognizing correct information.