Monday, February 18, 2019

Making Multiple Choice Easier

Photo by Ben Mullins, available at Unsplash

It might be this quarter. It might be on the MPRE or on the bar exam, but at some point in the near future, you're going to be faced with yet another multiple choice test. Given all the multiple choice tests you've taken in  your academic career up until now, you're probably a pro at process of elimination. Awesome! But what happens when you get down to two equally tempting answer choices? Or worse, when all of those answer choices look good?

Let's take a step back and think about how a multiple choice test works. For a multiple choice question to work, there must be a correct answer, even if that answer is "None of the above." Ambiguities have no place in multiple choice; that's for essays or short answers. What makes a multiple choice question difficult are those pesky three or four "trap" answer choices that seem to be saying all the right things. All of that noise slows you down and can make you second guess yourself. But what if you could side step those traps?

Try to articulate the right answer to the question before you look at the answer choices. You're smart. You studied for this test. Based on the information given to you in call of the question, you should be able to formulate what the correct response is without needing to refer to the answer choices. Once you know what the right answer should be, you will be more likely to spot it among the traps.

This method can take a little bit of practice since many of us are accustomed to diving right into the answer choices when taking a test. Try this strategy out on sample MBE questions or on a CALI lesson (login required) before your next to test to see if it works for you!

For more resources, check out our guides on Law School Exams and the Washington State Bar Exam.

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