In Multiple Choice tasks, first and foremost,
1.) Read the instructions carefully. I know I keep saying that but it is important. In this case, do not assume that because it is a multiple choice task you will pick only one option. If there are four choices (for example A, B, C, D) you will always have to pick one correct answer but if there are more than four options, (for example, A, B, C, D, E), you may be asked to choose at least TWO correct options, so be careful with that.
2.) It is very useful for you to keep in mind that multiple choice questions follow the order of the text. The answer to the first question will be found first in the text; the answer to the second question after that and so on so forth. This is important because if you can’t find the answer to a question but you find the answer to the next question, you know more or less where to search or scan in the text.
3.) The questions may refer to a small part of the passage or to a large part of the passage. There is no rule for that. Sometimes a question may refer to the whole text, asking for the opinion of the writer for example. This question will usually be the last one.
Here is a multiple choice task in detail:
Questions 19 – 22
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D
19 One purpose of the photography seminar is to teach how
A to use natural light to your advantage
B to control artificial light when framing a picture
C to find the right composition when framing a picture
D to know when it is best to use flash
20 Renowned photographers from all over the world advise participants on
A photographing landscapes and nature
B photographing portraits and people
C the new digital camera equipment
D creative and technical subjects
21 Participants are required to choose an assignment based on
A travel photography
B artistic photography
C storytelling photography
D the multiple uses of light, colour, and focus
Here we can see a 4-option multiple choice task. One thing I want to stress is the importance of underlining key-words. Let’s see the first question number 19. The first important word here is the word “purpose”. You will be looking for a purpose. This is important because in the text lots of ideas may be mentioned but do not get distracted: You are looking for the purpose; the goal of the seminar.
So, as you can see, smart underlining is important. You don’t have to underline everything—there’s no point in that—just underline the words that will guide you and help you. Similarly, in the next question number 20, we will search for advice. What the photographers advise the participants. They may say lots of things but what is their advice?
As far as the options are concerned, be careful! Some of the options may use the same words as in the text just in order to confuse you. Be sure to read the entire sentence carefully and understand its meaning. Do not let the use of words confuse you. Does it say the same thing in the text regarding meaning? Is it obvious? Then, it is correct. If not, check it out further.
For example, in question number 20, option C, we read: “the new digital camera equipment”. We may find this exact same phrase in the text—it is unlikely to be paraphrased anyway—but, is that phrase used in terms of advice? This is what you should ask yourself in order to answer.
Last but not least, when you choose a correct option always make sure that you read the other options as well and that you found proof they are not correct. Do not rush into answering.
Questions 20 – 21
Choose TWO letters, A –E.
Which TWO of the following are possible dangers that miners face daily?
A health problems due to toxic work conditions
B being held underground by the fall of walls and ceilings of the
C the potential of gas explosions
D frequent fires caused by gas leaks, electrical faults, or the
spillage of flammable chemicals
E electrocution within a damp mining environment
This is a 5-option multiple choice task and you have to choose two correct answers. You will follow the same strategy. You need to search for two possible dangers that miners face daily. “Daily” is important because the text may refer to a danger that can occur a certain period of time or once a year or whatever. So, be careful when expressions of time are used in every task. Then, you read the options carefully; you underline key-words; and you go back to the text.
One of the reasons I don’t focus on texts very much is because I want to show you the strategy no matter what the text is. If you follow this way of thinking, you can cope with any kind of text, no matter how tricky or difficult.
If you prefer video, check the lesson here: