September 28, 2015

Test Anxiety and Multiple Choice or True/False Questions

While essay questions can be intimidating because of the detailed recall necessary for a thorough answer, multiple choice and true/false questions can intimidate a test taker through sheer numbers. At the sight of page after page of multiple choice questions, test anxiety can easily take hold, especially if it seems that you might not have enough time to finish the test.

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by test anxiety while answering a set of multiple choice or true/false questions, there are a few strategies that can help you get back on track.

Do Not Rely on “Tricks”

When it comes to multiple choice questions, many people seem to think they have the “secret” to passing the test. They claim to know the best way to answer questions according to a pattern or a specific strategy, such as always choosing “c” if you do not know the answer. Relying on these strategies and patterns, they say, can ensure you a great score and eliminate any reason for test anxiety.

Unfortunately, such “tricks” or “secrets” are more likely to help you fail the test than help you pass it. The only “secret” to answering multiple choice questions is to choose the correct answer. If you do not know the answer, guessing is usually a safe strategy, but if you rely entirely on patterns or other tricks, you are likely to be disappointed with the results.

Go With Your Gut

In many cases, if you feel unsure of the correct answer to a multiple choice or true/false question, your first instinct is the right one. This is not so much a matter of guessing as it is of trusting your instincts. Often we know more than we think we know, and it is by second-guessing ourselves that we end up sabotaging that knowledge.

Trusting your first instinct to provide the right answer, then, is a valid way to approach questions you are a little unsure about. By relying on your own knowledge, gained through efficient study, you will be much less likely to suffer from test anxiety and much more likely to do your best on test day.

Test Anxiety and Test Format – Detailed Study (pdf)