Multiple choice questions (MCQs) are a type of assessment where you are asked to choose the correct or most appropriate answer. MCQs come in different forms:
- true/false questions
- matching questions
- choosing from a list
An MCQ is composed of a question (stem) and a set of choices as illustrated below.
Preparation for MCQs
You need to be familiar with a broad range of knowledge and its application or implications.
- Begin studying early because MCQs usually focus on assessing your comprehension of detailed aspects of the course. Your short-term memory will not be so helpful.
- Read the course description of what will be covered in the MCQs.
- Attempt any past or example MCQs under similar timing restrictions to get a sense of what the MCQs would look like in the exam.
- Do not try to memorise the past questions. Instead, it is a good idea to revise with friends and colleagues to improve your comprehension of the topics.
When you are doing MCQs
- Answer the questions you feel confident with first then come back to the others.
- Eliminate answers that are obviously incorrect, and then focus on the remaining choices.
- Deconstruct the question by underlining the topic words, the task words and the limit words.
- Watch for negatives and double negatives (e.g. not uncommon, not infrequently – both mean often).
- Do not read the potential answers immediately. Read the question and come up with the answer first, then read the options to see if it is listed.
- Complete any calculations or working prior to looking for the answer in the options provided. Don’t work backwards from the list of answers.
- Do not leave any question unanswered unless there is a penalty for guessing the wrong answer.
Watch this video for tips on doing MCQs.
Read this short guide to MCQs and short answer exam questions.
Becker, L (2010). 14 days to exam success: Pocket study skills. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Tips on Taking Multiple choice exams (n.d.). Retrieved from https://goo.gl/91yWa2