Multiple choice questions and answers aren’t just limited to middle schoolers. In fact, they’re even used when applying for a driver’s license and in college. This means that knowing how to face them properly is an important life skill.
Theoretically, choosing one of four options seems easy. There’s a 25% chance of selecting the right question. Not to mention, eliminating the wrong answers to pick the right one is easier said than done. This is especially true if the multiple-choice answer is in a statement form or the question asks you to finish an incomplete sentence or solve a problem. Add the pressure of time to the mix, and the entire situation becomes more challenging.
Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of mistakes middle schoolers make when faced with multiple choice questions and answers. By being aware of these mistakes, you’ll have the confidence needed to ace any multiple-choice test that comes your way.
Not Conducting a Practice Test
Just like everything in life, you must practice mastering anything. In this case, middle schoolers need to know how to study for a multiple-choice test. This involves recreating the test conditions as closely as possible. Hence, practice taking the test with no music, books, or any possible distractions.
Here are some study tips to consider:
- Use a planner
- Get organized via color-coding
- Utilize a homework timer
- Try to concentrate
- Improve spelling skills
- Practice taking notes during discussions
- Find your ideal learning style
- Ask your instructors for some tips, as they have experience in witnessing both students who have passed and failed.
Forgetting to Breathe and Relax Before the Exam
Despite the fact that students are well-prepared for an exam, there’s still one hindrance that can break their confidence: stress. Although stress is the body’s natural reaction to challenging situations like taking an exam, the problem is when the stress overwhelms you. When stress reaches this point, students may start forgetting what they’ve studied and lose their built-up confidence.
It’s important to sit down and settle the moment you’re in the exam hall to prevent stress from getting the best of middle schoolers. This involves taking a few deep breaths. This is vital since stress usually changes the way a person breathes. However, by performing some simple breathing exercises, the brain will receive ample oxygen, helping students to think clearly.
Here are some breathing exercises to do before taking a multiple-choice test:
- Put your hands on your stomach. The shoulders should remain still while the stomach moves out when breathing out.
- Inhale for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, then completely exhale for eight seconds. This is also known as the 4-7-8 technique, and doctors recommend it. The 4-7-8 technique will drive the attention to your breathing instead of the anxious feeling, calming the mind.
- Count every exhale as one and keep on breathing. But don’t go over five. Once you’ve exhaled five times, start from one again. This technique encourages you to focus on the number of breaths instead of the upcoming exam.
Failure to Allocate Time
As mentioned above, time plays a crucial role when taking exams. In fact, it can even add to the stress, causing students to fail just because they haven’t answered all of the questions. As a remedy, it’s important to know how to allocate your time when faced with multiple choice questions.
To do so, divide the total minutes of the exam duration by the number of questions to answer. For instance, if the allocated time for the exam is an hour and it has thirty questions, then it’s expected that a student should be on question 15 during the halfway mark.
Once that’s all figured out, you shouldn’t worry about a single question. Instead, you should stay within the allocated time for every question. If the time for a question is all used up, proceed to the next one. After all, there’s a chance that later questions will provide a clue about previous questions.
Make sure to mark any unanswered question/s, though!
Being Distracted by Classmates
Middle schoolers tend to be competitive. Hence, during exams, they tend to look around to see how their classmates are doing. However, if you do this and think that your classmates are answering their exams with ease, you’ll be pressured to finish fast, too.
As a solution, it’s best to simply focus on the questionnaire and your own answers. A wandering mind during an exam is a waste of time. Besides, taking an exam shouldn’t be a race.
Misunderstanding the Instructions
When taking a test, understanding and following instructions or directions is one of the keys to passing with flying colors. Unfortunately, many middle schoolers are confused with directional words, which may be the reason that they fail. For instance, if the instruction says “compare,” but the student picks the definition, they’ll lose a point.
On the other hand, a question could ask you to pick the “least likely,” “odd one out,” or even the “incorrect answer,” so make sure to read everything carefully to avoid slipping up.
Automatically Selecting All/None of the Above Option
Some middle schoolers may resort to all or none of the above options, especially if they’re unsure of the answer. However, before choosing this answer, it’s crucial to at least review the other options. Of course, students shouldn’t choose “all of the above” if one of the answers is blatantly incorrect. Also, if one of the choices is true, then don’t choose “none of the above.”
Not Eliminating the Wrong Answers
In relation to the common mistake above, one of the best ways for middle schoolers to ace a multiple test question is to perform the process of elimination. This involves eliminating any answer option that’s obviously incorrect. Doing so will increase the odds of choosing the right answer. It may even help exam-takers to remember the right answer.
So, if the exam has four options and you eliminate one, the chances of selecting the right answer will increase from 25% to 33.3%. The percentage will rise to 50% if you eliminate two options.
Overthinking When Faced with Multiple Choice Questions
Sometimes, however, the process of eliminating the wrong answers may lead to overthinking, which, in turn, will lead to self-doubt. Doubting oneself may ultimately lead to changing a right answer to a wrong one. That’s why it’s best to only eliminate the obviously incorrect option.
As a tip, try to answer the question without looking at the choices. This allows middle schoolers to identify the correct or similar answers. Also, an overthinker should go with their instincts. This involves limiting one’s thinking time and never doubting their hunch.
Not Reviewing Their Work
If there’s still time, it’s important to review your answers during a multiple choice questions exam. Make sure to read from an objective point of view, helping avoid biases. Also, try to go back to the skipped question/s. Dedicate a couple of minutes to answer the question depending on the time left. Remember not to overthink a question. Go with your instincts!
Lastly, ensure that the answer sheet doesn’t have any unnecessary markings. This will only confuse instructors, which will motivate them to mark the answers wrong. Also, if using a pencil, make sure to cover it with a pen, especially if there’s still time left. Doing so will make the answers more apparent.
There are a lot of mistakes to avoid when faced with multiple choice questions, but don’t forget to remember the basics when preparing for an exam. This involves not burning the midnight oil, having good quality sleep, and getting up on time to prepare the essentials.
Also, make sure that your stomach is full before heading to the exam hall. Having a full stomach will help the mind to think clearly and remain focused throughout the duration of the exam. Of course, if the examiner allows, don’t forget to bring water for hydration and to prevent fatigue.
With these tips, you’re now ready to tackle any multiple choice questions exam!