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Mr Chen's anecdotes.

How to do better for Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

Have you ever heard of the age-old saying, "When in doubt, just pick C?"


(Or you could cut your eraser into a cube and turn it into a die—a method sworn by one of my students.)

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Here are some tried-and-tested tips that can potentially help you improve your MCQs:


1. Look through all the questions rather than diving in head-first

By looking through the questions first, you might be able to quickly identify the easy-to-score questions. Make answering the easy questions your priority and get them out of the way before you attempt the harder ones.


Doing so can

  1. boost your confidence level

  2. get you into your flow state

  3. potentially help you manage your time better, especially for the harder questions


2. If you find yourself stuck, just move on to the next question

This one's a silent killer.


You may have found yourself in a situation where you were stuck on a question. You read the question and the options again and again. You try your best to derive the answer, but your answer fits none of the options. You decide to redo the question again.


The next time you look up at the clock, 15 minutes have already gone by.


Ain't nobody's got time to cry over that spilled milk now.


The next time you're stuck, JUST MOVE ON.


This is just one question out of the many. It's wiser to spend more time scoring on questions you know. You can always come back to this question later.


3. Read the questions carefully, and always double check your answers

MCQs are sometimes set in a way to trick you on purpose.


You may have come across questions that go something like "Here's a long explanation of the context blah blah blah blah blah blah blah distract the student with lots of information blah blah blah let's overload him or her blah blah blah. Which of the following are incorrect?"


There were a few times that I simply assumed the answer after reading the long chunk words before the actual question. It's a painful way to lose marks over something you studied for.


Always read the questions carefully. Never assume. Highlight or underline the question's requirements if you need to. This greatly reduces the odds of you misinterpreting what the question is asking for.


Double-check your answers at the end so if you can afford the time. Some people prefer to double-check after every question, some after every page, and some after the entire paper.


My advice? Try not to double-check after every question as you may still be focused on what you've just done. You may not be able to catch your mistakes. Moving away from that question and coming back to it later may give you a fresh perspective.


4. Make smart guesses

If the answer doesn't jump out at you, try eliminating the options that you think are incorrect first.


Doing so helps you focus on the remaining options that are more likely to be correct.


5. Put in the leg-work BEFORE the exam

Do as many questions as you can to expose yourself to the different ways questions can be set.

study and practise multiple choice questions

Your teachers often reference previous papers or question banks, as these are questions that have been proven to walk you through certain thinking processes your teachers want you to be familiar with.


Want more study tips?


Here are some:





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