There are various types of multiple-choice questions. Some tests will use just one, others will use several, or even all of them. Below are the most common types of multiple-choice questions you are likely to encounter.
- The “Who, What, Where Question.” This is the simplest, most basic form of multiple-choice question. It asks for you to recall a single, simple fact about the material.
Where did the Wright Brothers fly their first airplane?
A. Richmond, VA
B. Kitty Hawk, NC
C. Charlotte, NC
D. Philadelphia, PA
The correct answer is B. This question simply asks for you to correctly identify a place name.
- The “Multiple-Answer” Multiple-Choice Question. This one varies from the “Who, What, Where” question in that more than one answer could be correct. For example,
Which of the following was not a declared war by the U.S. Congress?
I. World War I
II. World War II
III. The Korean War
IV. The Vietnam War
A. The Vietnam War
B. I only
C. I and II only
D. III only
E. IV only
F. III and IV only
The correct answer here is F; neither the Korean nor Vietnam Wars were declared a war by Congress. These questions are tricky because many people are tempted, when they see a right answer, to select it, without thinking there may be another answer that’s also correct. Looking quickly at the choices, choice C is correct, but choice F is the best answer.
The “Best Answer” Multiple-choice Question. On this type, the there might not be one clear objective answer, but rather, you’re required to select the choice that comes closest to being right. For example:
The factor which was the most to blame for the 1986 explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger was:
A. It launched too early in the morning.
B. The cold weather allowed ice to develop.
C. The astronauts did not have enough sleep.
D. The astronauts were not adequately trained.
While it’s entirely possible that C or D might have played a role, it’s now commonly believed that the cause of the crash was ice which had built up on the Shuttle’s “O” rings. Some answers are possible, but B is the best answer.
The “Fill in the Blank” Multiple-choice Question. This is frequently used on grammar and reading comprehension tests. The question is presented as a sentence, with one or two key words left out. You must choose the correct one to fill the blank. Example:
The animals at the zoo _________________ by the visitors.
A. Did not feed
B. Cannot fed
C. Should not be fed
D. Never feeding
The answer is C, since “The animals at the zoo should not be fed by the visitors” is the only one that is grammatically correct.
Most the multiple-choice questions you’ll encounter will fall into one above categories, although it’s possible you might also encounter a strange hybrid of two or three types.