One of the most common refrains we hear at Academic Achievement is “I hate multiple choice questions! What’s the best way to study for them?” If you struggle with multiple choice questions or are simply looking to improve your multiple choice scores, keep these tips in mind:
- First and foremost, you have to understand the blackletter rules and the facts that trigger those rules in order to be successful on multiple choice questions. Could you spot issues and analyze an essay question without knowing the law? No, of course not. Well, multiple choice questions are the same. No strategy will help you if you don’t first know the law, so be sure you put in the time and effort necessary to learn the rules and how they operate.
- Having the proper mindset is essential to succeeding on multiple choice exams. If you walk in to the exam thinking “I’m terrible at multiple choice,” then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Start reworking your internal monologue so that you feel more confident when faced with multiple choice questions. The truth is, anyone can conquer multiple choice questions with the right mix of hard work, proper strategy, and self-belief.
- This is a big one – don’t simply rely on the answer choices to help you find the right answer. The answer choices often contain distractors and diversions that will lead you astray. The better strategy is to try to spot the issue and predict the outcome before you review the answer choices. Once you’ve predicted the outcome, look for the answer choice that matches your prediction. If this is a new process for you, you will need to be conscientious about implementing it until it becomes second nature.
- Most importantly, we really can’t overemphasize the important of practicing as many multiple choice questions as you can get your hands on. Nothing will prepare you for a multiple choice exam like completing tons and tons of multiple choice questions. The more questions you do, the more likely you are to recognize common ways that rules are tested and the more familiar you’ll be with the types of facts that raise particular issues. As part of your practice routine, always review the answer explanations that accompany the questions (even for those you answered correctly.) Reading through the answer explanations will improve your understanding of the rules and how they apply.
Ultimately, the best way to study for multiple choice exams is to learn by doing, so practice, practice, practice!