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Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) tests are very common today. Most competitive exams will contain a section or the whole paper MCQ test. Most learning institutions conduct admission tests in MCQ format. Most employers also have also adopted the MCQ style of recruiting candidates. MCQ’s have won the wide application due to their excellence in testing three primary areas;

  • Concepts
  • Knowledge
  • Intelligence
  • Speed and Accuracy

Preparation methods for MCQ’s differ depending on the purpose of the test. Employer recruitment MCQ’s are quite different from college exams help in MCQ style. However, the approach of tackling these tests for maximum marks is uniform.


I. Study- Get the Concepts!

MCQ tests are used to test mastering of concepts. Therefore, success in these tests requires that you have the concepts of the subject at your fingertips. While preparing for the MCQ test, identify the most important concepts and try to understand them. Do not memorize! Revising in short sessions is more effective in mastering the concepts as opposed to ‘nonstop’ studying. Learn the styles used in previous MCQs by perusing through past tests. Brainstorm with other well-prepared students.

II. Moderate the Speed- Avoid Panic

Start answering the questions at a moderate speed depending on the time allocated for the entire MCQ test. Have your time plan before starting the test. Attempting speeding up in the course of the MCQ test will make you panic.

III. Not Sure About the Correct Answer?

Apply Elimination: Rule out the all the wrong answers until you are left with one answer.

Make an intelligent guess: When left with more than one answer after eliminating wrong answers, choose intelligently, the most probable of the remaining. Intelligent guessing will also be applied where more than one answer look correct. Look for cues to help you make the right guess. For instance; if a question ends with ‘an’, the answer is most likely to starts with a vowel.

IV. Tricky Questions or Answers

Carefully read the whole question, taking note of the keywords used before you rush to the responses. Try to identify the examiner’s ‘Tricks’ and ‘traps’. Not all questions will be direct. Also, read through all the answers provided before you settle on one.

V. Skip ‘Difficult’ Questions First

Carefully tackle all the easy questions first. Time-consuming questions may hinder you from attempting probably easier questions towards the end of the test. After answering the easy question, you can now take time to answer the ‘difficult’ ones.

VI. Expect Knowing most Questions- Not all.

Do not panic when you find a question you least expected or cannot answer. Remember that it is rare for a student to get everything correct. For a very difficult question, employ all you have learnt in the course, and most importantly, your personal reasoning to come up with a logical answer.

VII. Changing an Answer

Do not rush to change an answer unless you have a good reason to change. For questions answered with intelligent guesses, the first guess is usually the most probable answer. Avoid changing the answer on the basis of the pattern followed by the series of answers to the other questions.

VIII. Short Cuts

Some MCQs test not only the accuracy but also the speed in answering the questions. Hence, for computational subjects, master all the available and useful short-cuts.

IX. Hints

Obtaining hints from the answers given for multiple choosing will most likely make you fall into the ‘trap’ of the examiner. If you feel tempted to look at the answers before attempting to solve the question, you can use Some Distractors look like Hints!

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