How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions

During the police test you will be asked a series of multiple-choice questions. You just select the correct answer, right? Right – but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you’re confronted with a question you’re unsure of, or perhaps you don’t know the answer. In these cases, it’s crucial you apply the right strategy.

That’s right – there is a strategy behind answering multiple-choice questions. The very last thing you should do is guess. Guessing only has a 25 percent chance of being correct (assuming there are four answers, of course). When you apply our strategies, those odds can rise enormously.

Know what the question is asking

Know what the question is asking

You’d be surprised how many people rush through the police exam.

They are overconfident in their ability to perform, believing that their preparatory study has them covered. But it often doesn’t work out that way. Unfortunately, there are many cases each year of students who didn’t study as hard but who scored better than the students who conducted the most study.

There are three reasons for this:

  • The student becomes overconfident
  • The student rushes through the exam, not knowing what the question is asking
  • The student who studied less is applying strategy to the police exam

That’s why it’s vital you take your time. There is more than enough time to answer every question. You need to ration your time accordingly. This means reading the question more than once. When you fully understand a question, you can fully think through the answer.

  • The use of the word “not” in a question. “Which of the following is not…” etc.
  • Use of the words “all” and “except”. “All of the following except…” etc.

Reading through the question, in a casual but focused manner, means you avoid these simple mistakes and, in the end, maximize your exam result.

Think through EACH answer

Again, this sounds obvious – but many candidates simply don’t apply this in practice.

Don’t assume that you are always right. Where necessary, err on the side of caution. When you read the question, it’s likely that an answer pops into your mind. This is likely to be the correct answer.

However, you still need to review the other three possible options. Think through each answer and rationalise why that answer must be wrong. Similarly, reinforce your thoughts on the answer you believe to be correct.

Taking these extra, precautionary steps immunise your exam against potential disaster.

Always improve your odds

However, there many be cases in which the answer does not pop straight into your mind.

In these cases, you must apply time and logic to the question. When we talk about “time”, we mean taking the necessary time to review each answer (see above). Try and eliminate answers based on your knowledge and/or logic. If the answer simply doesn’t make sense, it’s unlikely to be correct.

Generally speaking, when examiners write the police exam MCQs, they abide by the following formula:

  • One correct answer
  • One clearly incorrect answer
  • Two unclear incorrect answers

At the very least, you should be able to eliminate the one clearly incorrect answer. For the remaining three, apply a percentage likelihood to each answer based on the evidence you have. Taking this time increases the probability of choosing the correct answer.

Remember – if you find yourself in this position for 10 questions, applying the above strategy will reap dividends. You’re placing the odds in your favor.


Multiple-choice questions are unavoidable in the police test.

For this reason, it’s not enough to simply study the relevant material. Important though that is, you cannot reasonably be expected to achieve 100 percent. It’s an ideal goal, and something you should always hope to achieve, but, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely to happen.

By applying the above strategies, you are prepared to deal with questions:

a) Whose answers you believe to be true
b) Whose answers you are entirely unsure of

If you are entirely unsure of a question and are genuinely confused, leave the question until the end. Don’t spend more time than you need to on one question. There are many tens of MCQ questions in the exam. Obsessing on one question makes no sense and reduces the available time you do have for the answers you are likely to know.

To answer multiple choice questions effectively, you need to apply these tips and tricks. While they do not guarantee 100 percent success, they do increase the probability of choosing the correct answer and that, if anything, is worth the effort.

Police Test Guide is the leading online resource for candidates trying to pass the police exam. Take a few minutes to learn more about our police test preparation. Check back to our blog soon for even more great tips and tricks on how you can maximize your result in the upcoming police test!