The Multiple Choice Exam

Section One consists of 80 multiple choice questions. You have 55 minutes to answer them, that's about a minute and a half per question! You will receive one point for each question that you answer correctly. As of 2010, there is no longer a guessing penalty.

To avoid this penalty, focus on strategies and consider these tips.

  1. The multiple choice questions are meant to test "factual knowledge, breadth of preparation and knowledge-based analytical skills."
  2. There are four types of question; graphics, short quotations, statements to complete and short answer.
  3. Questions at the beginning will be easier and become more difficult as you progress.
  4. The questions are not randomly ordered, they are clustered in groups of 6 to 12 questions from exploration to the 20th century.
  5. You need to answer approximately 60% of the questions correctly to get a "3".


  1. Read the question carefully, look for prompting words such as significant, direct result of, consequence of, true, correct, most characteristic of, best known for, best describes, primarily, primary reason.
  2. Knowing that the questions are in chronological order can help you to eliminate answers that don't make sense for the time period.
  3. For questions with the words NOT or EXCEPT, read each answer and ask yourself if it is true of the subject. If it is, cross it off and go on the next choice until you have eliminated possibilities.
  4. Educated guessing is OK if you consider the following;
    • Ignore answers that are absolutely wrong
    • Discard choices that are illogical
    • Check the time period again
    • Check the key words again
    • Narrow your choices to 2 and go with what feels right