Multiple Choice Strategies


  1. Cover the answers and read the question (quietly) out loud to your self.  Determine exactly what is being asked.  (This is where they try to trick you.) Understanding exactly what the question is asking is the single most important task in answering it.  It will take 10 extra seconds and may result in up to 10 extra test points.


  1. Uncover the answers and pay attention to which one “jumps” out at you, intuition is not a far off fantasy concept but your mind answering the question before your brain gets in the way.  If you know the answer, lets say 85-100% sure, go ahead and choose it.  If you have a gut feeling, or you’re clueless, keep on reading


  1. “”””””Document Based Questions “””””””””  (Multiple Choice or DBQers)


Š       Think of these questions as fishing trips.  After understanding what you’re being questioned about (the bait), go find it in the document (water).  Knowing that the answer is IN the “ quote” is powerful knowledge.  Do not choose an answer unless you can find it in the document.

  1. Keep this in mind.  Answers in many cases will include;


Š       A throw away answer that isn’t related to the topic.

Š       An answer that sounds good because it contains truthfulness, but it may be correct for another question.

Š       An answer that is related to the question but is incorrect.

Š       The correct answer.  Usually a thesis answer, broad and important.


  1. Process of elimination.  Never guess!  You can always increase your chances!


    1. Unless you’re absolutely sure, always avoid 100% answers.  Absolutes in history are rare, history isn’t mathematics.  There are a few exceptions (14th amendment. Elastic clause, etc.) But getting rid of answers with these nasty little buggers is a good idea.  Here are some 100% words;

all   never    absolutely   always    none


    1. Get rid of the throw away answer, cross it out.


    1. Hopefully you have only 2 (maybe 3) answers left.  If there are 3 left, look for the two that are similar. Pick the one that is broad.  Remember the answers will be more of an umbrella of history rather than a raindrop.


    1. If you are unsure go with your first instinct.



5.  Chronology is important, remember the questions go in order (for the most part),

For example; don’t pick a containment answer before WWII (?’s Around mid 30’s)

No neutrality answers after WWII.


  1. If there is anything in the question you can use write it down or underline it.  You may use it in an essay later.


Thematic Advice


For a 1 or 2



For a 3


For a 4/5


9/11         War   (Iraq/Afghanistan)                                    WWII= Pearl Harbor

                 Civil Rights limited  (Patriot Act)                     WWII= Korematsu v US          
































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