Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions in GATE & CSIR NET

Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions

  • Read the directions carefully
  • Know if each question has one or more correct option
  • Know if you are penalized for guessing
  • Know how much time is allowed (this governs your strategy)
  • Preview the test
  • Read through the test quickly and answer the easiest questions first
  • Mark those you think you know in some way that is appropriate
  • Read through the test a second time and answer more difficult questions
  • You may pick up cues for answers from the first reading, or become more comfortable in the testing situation
  • If time allows, review both questions and answers
  • It is possible you mis-read questions the first time

Answering options

  • Improve your odds, think critically:
  • Cover the options, read the stem, and try to answer
  • Select the option that most closely matches your answer
  • Read the stem with each option
  • Treat each option as a true-false question, and choose the “most true”

Strategies to answer difficult questions:

  • Eliminate options you know to be incorrect
  • If allowed, mark words or alternatives in questions that eliminate the option
  • Give each option of a question the “true-false test:”
  • This may reduce your selection to the best answer
  • Question options that grammatically don’t fit with the stem
  • Question options that are totally unfamiliar to you
  • Question options that contain negative or absolute words.
  • Try substituting a qualified term for the absolute one, like frequently for always; or typical for every to see if you can eliminate it

“All of the above:”

If you know two of three options seem correct, “all of the above” is a strong possibility

Number answers:

toss out the high and low and consider the middle range numbers

“Look alike options”

probably one is correct; choose the best but eliminate choices that mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each other out

Double negatives:

Create the equivalent positive statement and consider

Echo options:

  • If two options are opposite each other, chances are one of them is correct
  • Favour options that contain qualifiers
  • The result is longer, more inclusive items that better fill the role of the answer
  • If two alternatives seem correct,compare them for differences, then refer to the stem to find your best answer


  • Always guess when there is no penalty
    for guessing or you can eliminate options
  • Don’t guess if you are penalized for guessing and if you have no basis for your choice
  • Use hints from questions you know to answer questions you do not.
  • Change your first answers when you are sure of the correction, or other cues in the test cue you to change.
  • Remember that you are looking for the best answer not only a correct one, and not one which must be true all of the time, in all cases, and without exception

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