As a further discussion to BugDozer's node, you can also perform 'statistical analysis' on the available answers to give yourself a better chance. Note that this method does not guarantee results, only that it is likely to give you a higher percentage chance of obtaining the correct answer. You still need to know a bit about your subject material to succeed.

Step 1:
Eliminate the obviously wrong answers (there is usually one in every question)

Step 2:
Perform statistical analysis on the answers by looking for common threads in the answers. Consider this example:

Say there are four answers:

  1. A, B, C, D
  2. A, C, D
  3. B, C
  4. A
First, 'A' is in three out of the four options. Therefore I eliminate answer 3. I can also eliminate answer 4 because three out of the four answers had B/C/D. That leaves answer 1 and 2. Both answers 1 and 2 have A, C, and D so B becomes the deciding factor. Now B appears in answer 1 and 3, but C appears in answers 1,2 and 3. Therefore I would select answer 2 as my answer.

I've used this technique in 6 years of uni and while it isn't foolproof, I have found it to be a much better option than guesing. I 'proved' this technique to a friend who was doing a test national chemistry exam. With minimal knowledge of chemistry, I scored 14 out of 20 simply using this method. That's 70% accuracy compared with a theoretical 20% accuracy with guessing (5 options per question).

Obviously, the more you do know about the topic, the easier it is to eliminate the obvious wrong answer and the easier it is to pick the correct options. Like I said before, this is but one technique to help improve your chances - there are no guarantees.

This certainly doesn’t hold true for every teacher, but it is definitely something you should look for if you ever get stuck with a multiple choice test. Mr. Brown, Silver Lake Regional High School, teaches US History to 10th graders, or at least he did back in the 90s. You would be pretty damn lucky to get him because everyone knew about the Mr. Brown scantron tests. There was a weekly one. Show up to class? He didn’t care… pay attention, sleep, pick your nose, it was all irrelevant to him. But be there to take the weekly test . Your entire grade was based on it. And if you were smart, you knew how to pass the test before you even got to his class. You didn’t have to do the reading, didn’t have to study the night before. All you needed was just a bit of common sense, or a tip off from a friend. You’d take a look at the test, and you would be handed out a scantron sheet. He was a lazy man, hated correcting tests and he blatantly told his students as much. He has better things to teach class because his passion was history. Test making was a huge failure on his part. The effort was just not there. But he did love the history, he was a fanatic about it. And his tests reflected it. A sample question:
The French and Indian War was a pivotal point in America's relationship to Great Britain because it led Great Britain to:

  1. Encourage colonial manufactures
  2. Impose revenue taxes on the colonies. At the end of the French and Indian War, Great Britain decided to tax the colonies to help pay for the war and the maintenance of the army left in North America at the end of the war. The Sugar Act and subsequent revenue bills introduced a new element in Great Britain's relationship with its colonies. Before this point, Navigation acts had been passed to govern the flow of colonial commerce. Now Acts were being passed to raise revenue. The colonists objected to taxes imposed without their consent and violently resisted enforcement. Colonial respect for British office holders, governors, military personnel, and customs collectors plummeted and antagonism developed in the relationship between the colonies and Great Britain. The seeds of the revolution were planted and flowering.
  3. Restrict emigration from England
  4. Ignore the colonies
  5. Grant increased colonial self-government
Obviously the correct answer to that question is B. And if you can’t figure out why then you are a dolt. That is an exaggeration of the sample of questions he would provide, but you get the idea. Look for the longest answer!!! My teacher, so caught up in everything he knew, would provide lengthy, detailed answers, correctly punctuated and with proper grammar for the correct answer. And it was probably because he had so much information in his head he couldn’t compact it enough to squeeze into a one line answer. He obviously didn’t give two shits about the incorrect answers. The test was a piece of cake.

Thanks Mr. Brown. It’s sufficient to say no one learned jack shit in your class, but at that point most of us didn’t care and were happy for the easy A.

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