How to tackle Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)?

Multiple choice questions (MCQs) consist of 3 parts: the stem(the question), distracters( the wrong choices) and the correct choices.

Preparation:

  • One of the best ways of revising for MCQs is to read as widely around a subject as possible, concentrating less on memorizing hard facts and more on understanding basic principles and concepts.
  • Remember, rote learning will stick up the matter in your tongue temporarily but if you understand what you read, it will stay as an imprint in your grey matter for ever.
  • If you can, try to work through previous MCQ papers as these will give you the best indication of the style of each particular examination. If there is limited pool of questions, they may even be repeated in the exam as in the case of Maharajgunj Medical College (IOM) entrance examination.
  • 1\3 rd of your study hour’s everyday to practice the old questions and the model MCQs.
  • Don’t worry even if you make any mistakes in the beginning. In this level, you have a potential to improve yourself.
  • Try to find out your loopholes, and the reasons for choosing wrong answers. Also, try to correct the mistakes you have made in your next practice session.
  • Whatever you read, try to convert it to MCQ pattern.
  • Do consult your seniors who have already achieved the success. What you gain this way is far much significant than what you learn by reading text books alone.

In the day before exam:

  • Revise and discuss in a group if possible. Discussing with others is a great way to reinforce your own knowledge.
  • Go through Short notes, quick literature review and tables. Do not waste your time going through huge text books.
  • Concentrate and revise what you know rather than what you don’t know.
  • Don’t intoxicate yourself with alcohol, hypnotics or sedatives.
  • Get an alarm clock for yourself or ask someone to wake you up at the specified a time.
  • Make sure you know how to get to your testing location and how long it will take you to get there.
  • Be sure you are properly prepared mentally.

On the day of Exam:

  • The idea that to have forgotten everything might strike your mind, but it is just a mere psychology
  • Remember you’re not the only one to have such kind of feeling, everyone would have be going through same psychology.
  • Double-check testing center rules and be sure to have your admit card and essential stationery with you.
  • Eat and drink wisely in the morning or day of the test. Make sure you don’t go into the test hungry. Hunger can interfere with your concentration, and so can the noise of rumbling stomach.
  • Don’t forget to wear a watch. You’ll need to keep eye on the minute hand while you’re testing.
  • Arrive at the testing center early. Give yourself time to relax and reflect for several minutes before the test begins.
  • At the care of any bodily functions, like visit the bathroom if you have to.
  • Take try to adjust your seat before you start the exam.
  • Try to relax by taking several deep breaths in through your nose and exhaling slowly and completely through your mouth.
  • Visualize you are passing the exam.
  • Pay close attention to directions. Read them Twice, if possible. Don’t make assumptions.

General approach:

  • Always calculate the time available for each question before the exam and stick to that time strictly.
  • Time management is key factor in any exam.
  • Our recommendation is to answer the questions in three rounds.
  • The first round includes answering those questions which are most confident about.
  • In the second round, answer the questions which can be solved after recalling your theory and brainstorming.
  • The third round involves solving the questions with the help of intellectual guessing technique that we have mentioned in the next session.
  • When you finish answering all the questions, if the time permits, you can go through all of them once. If on a second reading you feel like changing too many answers’ relax for a few moments and try again. It is our observation that when a student change the answer, more often, the second answer is wrong! But, you can change the answer if you have a valid reason for doing so.
  • Wrong answers are NOT given a negative mark. In other words, a correct answer gets full credit; a wrong answer neither gets nor loses anything. Select the answer you think is best. Aim to answer at 100% of MCQs in every paper. (But for the MOE exams, keep in mind the negative system.)
  • Overall, remember that you are looking for the best answer, not only a correct one.

Making Intellectual guesses

Question which include absolute and sweeping statements such as “never”, “always”, or ‘exclusively “are generally false (because any rule can have exception).

Question which include the keywords “could, possible, or may” are more often true.

Studies have shown that the mind of the person who writes the MCQs usually puts the answer subconsciously in the third choice “C”. So if again your up to 50/50 you might feel safer choosing C.

Keep your eye open for obvious mistakes the question creator does. Capital letter when all the other answer are small letters, leaving an extra space before the correct answer or if only one of the choices ends with a period “.” that’s probably your answer.

In case of numbers, commonly what question creators will do is choose the options as: the correct answer, the two whole numbers surrounding that answer and then another number some distance away. 9 out of 10 times, if you pick the ‘middle’ number, you will guess correctly.

Funny Response

Some people who set the question want to play with the students’ mind. If there are funny responses as an option, it is generally wrong: like: “no where in the list”.

Long response

  • It is often the correct one.
  • The one who sets the question tries to lengthen the correct answer in order to justify.

Grammatical clues

If the stem ends with an in definite article “an” for example then the correct response probably begins with the vowel. (Similarly, if it ends with “a” then the correct option begins with a consonant)

Similarly, If the verb in the stem is singular, the correct answer will be singular. (Same case will apply in the plural stem and option)

All of the above

Often a correct response
If you can verify that more than one of other responses are correct, then choose” all the above”.

None of the above

Usually the incorrect response
However, it is reliable than “all of the above” rule.

Verbal association

A response that repeats keywords that are in stem is likely to be correct.

Guessing in a group

While guessing a lot of question at once, it is better to select the same option. According to the rule
of probability 255 of the guesses done in this manner will be correct.

Double Negative statements

Translate double negative statements into positive ones which will reduce the confusion.
Like “not lacking” or “not more” becomes “having” and “some”.

BEST OF LUCK

4 Comments
  1. May 12, 2011
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