Reprinted with Permission from the University of Tennessee - Memphis Academic Resources Center, Summer 1993
1.Be an active test-taker
2.Look for inner test cues
3.Use common sense
4.Don't read too much into the question
5.Unless you are penalized for guessing, never leave a blank answer
Strategies for Taking Multiple-Choice Tests
1.Circle and make use of "specific determiners"
1.A 16 year old boy is admitted to the hospital for hernia repair. A presurgical multichemistry screen an alkaline phosphatase of 180 IU/L (180U/L) and a serum bilirubin concentration of 1.9 mg/dL (32.5 umol/L) total; 0.3 mg/dL (5.1 umol/L) direct. History reveals that the patient has been in good health but has noted yellow schlera in times of stress. Which of the following explains these results?
3.Cleft lip associated with cleft palate
4.An abnormal decrease in serum calcium (i.e., hypocalcemia):
2.Look for carefully worded answers with "wiggle" clauses. (Many times the longest answer is the correct one.)
1.The macro-broth dilution method for determining antibiotic susceptibility of the Enterobacteriaceae cannot be used effectively for the sulfonamides or trimethoprim because:
2.The life expectancy for white females born in 1960 was 73 years. This means that:
3.Eliminate two or more options that have virtually the same meaning.
1.The hectoquartic logarithm of 580 is equal to
2.On Monday a patient's hemoglobin determination was 11.3 g/dL and on Tuesday it measured 11.8 g/dL. The standard deviation of the method used is +- 0.2 g/dL. Which of the following can be concluded about the hemoglobin values given?
4.Use stem option cues to your advantage
A.Exact repetition of one or more words from the stem to the option.
1.Mycoplasma pneumoniae has been established as:
B.Repetition of part of a word from the stem to the option
1.First generation cephalosporins can be adequately represented by:
2.A patient with a high urinary excretion of a polysaccharide that contains uronic acids, N-acetyle hexosamines and sulfate probably has:
3.In chronic lymphotic leukemia there is a
C.Repetition of meaning from the stem to the option
1.Combining antibiotics in drug therapy can have a variety of results, the most desirable of which is:
2.The ability of a microorganism to enter the body and to spread throughout the tissues can be defined as
D.Look for etymologic cues from the stem to the option
1.Hydrophilic molecules tend to associate with
2.Children may inadvertently ingest Ascarid eggs which normally have dog as the definitive host. The result may be infection of the child's liver, lungs or eyes. The species of Ascarid most likely responsible is:
E.Look for Similarities in Options
1.A fungal isolate from the sputum of a patient with a pulmonary infection is suspected to be Histoplasma capsulatum. Tuberculate macroconidia were seen on the hyphae of the mold phase, which was isolated at room temperature on Sabouraud's dextrose agar, containing chloramphenicol and cycloheximide (SDA-CC). A parallel set of cultures incubated at 35 C showed bacterial growth on SDA but no growth on SDA-CC. Which of the following is the appropriate course of action?
2.The frequency of impulse discharge by the carotid sinus baroreceptors (stretch receptors) is decreased by
F.Consider options with qualifiers or explanations
1.A 25 year old woman is seen by a physician because of Raynaud's phenomenon, myalgias, arthralgias, and difficulty in swallowing. There is no evidence of renal disease. An ANA titer is 1:8000 with a speckled pattern. Which of the following is also likely to be found in this patient?
G.Consider longer option cues or more detailed answers
1.Results of a serum sample tested against a panel of reagent red cells provide presumptive evidence of an alloantibody directed against a high-incidence antigen. Further investigation to confirm the specificity should include which of the following?
2.The nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) test showed rare neutrophils with black deposites of NBT after stimulation of the cells with latex particles. This is suggestive of
3.A lesion of involvement of anterior horn cells usually produces