Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

WAC/Health Sciences

Tips on How to Take Multiple Choice Exams

Narrow your options:

  • Recognize "Distractors"

    -options designed to resemble the correct answer that distract you from the correct answer

  • Eliminate Options

    -make a decision after each option as you read it

    -after eliminating an option, don't go back to it!

    -try to eliminate at least two options

  • Identify Global Response

  • -this is a more general statement that may sound very similar to another option

    -of the two, the more general statement is usually best--it is more complete

  • Eliminate Similar "Distractors"

  • -there can only be one right answer on a test so...

    -if two options say basically the same thing, neither of them can be the answer



    A client is receiving care at the clinic.  Her doctor has prescribed an iron supplement and an increased amount of Vitamin C in her diet.  The nurse understands that the best rationale for increasing Vitamin C in the client's diet is:

    (-)  a.  it will help decrease the content of iron absorbtion inhibitors

    (-)  b.  it decreases bioavailability of dietary iron

    (+)  c.  ascorbic acid aids in the absorption of dietary nonheme iron

    (-)  d.  it prevents the formation of insoluble and unabsorbable iron compounds


    • A and D are very similar Distractors.  They sound good, but are too similar.
    • B would be correct, if it read "increases" instead of "decreases."  This is a good example of a time when careful reading is crucial.
    • C is correct.  It is similar to A and D, but is a more Global Response.


Click here to see another example.


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