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15 easy ways for multiple choice

1. Try to answer without looking at the options, and then look at them Students often find the three wrong answers in the question so distracting that it is best just to get them to try and answer the question without looking the choices and then look at the options to check their answers. To […]

1. Try to answer without looking at the options, and then look at them
Students often find the three wrong answers in the question so distracting that it is best just to get them to try and answer the question without looking the choices and then look at the options to check their answers. To add a game element, after they have written their answers down give the options one by one, allowing students to choose each one if it matches their answer or if they change their minds when they hear it. Give 5 points for the first person to choose the correct option as you read them out, and minus one point to anyone who guesses the wrong one.

2. Guess the answer first
With multiple choice reading and listening questions, it is often a good idea to get students to guess which answers are wrong or clearly wrong before they read or listen. This is a good way of making sure they understand the question and have it at the front of their mind when they are listening. To add fun, you can get them to bet on their choices depending on how confident they are.

3. Look at the options and guess the question
In this variation on Guess the Answer First, students are given the four options and have to guess what the question is, e.g. if the options are “Because he is bleeding” and “So he can get high” they could try “Why is the person taking morphine?” This task can be done with or without looking at or listening to the text. Give points for how close they are to the real question.

4. Look at the options and make the question
In this variation of Look at the Options and Guess the Question, students write questions that match one of the four options to test other teams with, e.g. if the options are “for”, “since” and “ago” they can write “I have been here ____ Tuesday”. After testing each other and checking their answers, they should find the real multiple choice task easier and more interesting.

5. One more challenge
Another way for students to challenge each other is to tippex out one of the false options and get students to rewrite the whole question with one more distractor they have written to try and fool another team. Alternatively, you can get them to write two or more distractors. You will need to make sure each team has different questions.

6. The amazing growing, rotating multiple choice
Each group has one different multiple choice question with only two options. They try the question and check their answers with the teacher, make up one additional wrong option, and pass to the next group. The next group then tries the question, makes up one additional wrong option etc. Continue until the task gets back to the original group, who should see if they can still remember or work out the answer

7. Multiple choice millionaire
Allow students the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire options of “Phone a friend” (ask someone else in class what they think), “Fifty fifty” (reduce the options to two) and “Ask the audience” (get the whole class to vote on the right answer)

8. Elimination
When you are going through the answers as a class, allow each team to give an answer they are confident of, either one answer they are sure is right or (probably easier for them) one option they are sure is wrong. You can give points if you like.

9. Multiple movie options
Especially for students who are taking English language exams, multiple choice questions based on dialogue from a film can be very good practice. You can easily write questions based on grammar, vocabulary, listening comprehension, or even reading comprehension if you give them a script of part of the film.

10. Multiple songs
Any of the things you can do with a film, you can do even more easily with a song

11. No options
A good way of giving students an easy start and improving their tactics when faced with a multiple choice question is actually to give them the correct answers and get them to work out why it is correct and the other three options are wrong, e.g. by underlining the correct place in the text.

12. Options here
A similar activity to No Options is to give them the reading or listening text with the important parts already underlined, so that they can ignore the rest of the information and get into the habit of underlining the important information themselves.

13. No distractions questions
A little less help than Options Here that also aids in getting rid of distractions is giving the students the questions with the words they particularly need to concentrate underlined.

14. Multiple choice matching
Before students answer the multiple choice questions, get them to match the cut up questions and options.

15. Multiple mixing
A more preparation-intensive but more intellectually stimulating version of Multiple Choice Matching is to rewrite the questions so the 1 right option in each case is written in the wrong question, e.g. the right option 1 A is switched with the right option 2 D, but 1 B, C and D and 2 A, B and C are in their original places.

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net March 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

One Comment

  • Consuelo Paez says:

    I have expanded the range of activities to work in class. Thanks!

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TEFL.net : ESL Lesson Plans : Classroom Ideas : Quizzes : 15 easy ways for multiple choice