Friday, December 8, 2023

Final Exams & Multiple-Choice Questions

Final exams are in full swing. I met with a student yesterday who was terrified about their next exam because it’s going to be all multiple-choice questions. So often, students put down their ability to solve multiple-choice problems. I hear things like:

“I’m terrible at multiple-choice problems.”

“I’ll never pass an exam if it’s all multiple-choice questions.”

“I get stuck between two answers and ALWAYS pick the wrong one.”

“I fall for the tricks on multiple-choice exams.”

Here are some tips I share with students for improving on multiple-choice questions.


  • No matter how you performed on multiple-choice tests in the past, it’s a new day. If properly prepared, you can answer each question correctly!
  • Remember that law school multiple-choice questions usually ask you to apply a rule – not just recognize an answer. This means you should approach them with your legal problem-solving skills. Instead of relying on recognizing the right answer, try to identify the rule the question is asking about. Then, apply that rule to the facts. This will lead you to the correct answer.
  • Don’t rush. Don’t get stuck. Figure out how much time you can devote to each question and stick to it.
  • Carefully read each question and watch out for qualifiers— these are words like all, always, often, most, least.
  • If you have it narrowed down to two responses and can’t decide, treat the answers like a true/false problem. Consider if one is completely true, while one is “only true if…” The correct answer is completely true.  
  • Don’t make any assumptions or add any facts to the question that aren’t there. This is sure to lead you astray.
  • Is the answer mostly right? Then it’s wrong.
  • Trust your gut. It’s usually correct.
  • Don’t change answers unless you truly misread the question or have another very good reason. Your first answer is usually the right one.
  • Keep track of time.

Bonus tip:

You need to practice multiple-choice problems to improve. As you practice, make sure you keep track of WHY you missed the question. Did you misunderstand the rule? Did you read too fast? Did you misapply the rule? Diagnose why are missing questions and use the tips above to create a strategy. Your scores will improve!

(Ashley Cetnar)

Advice, Exams - Studying | Permalink


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