Multiple Choice Questions or MCQ tests are analogous to test for driver’s license. The test for driver’s license is not about- if you know how to start an engine or can your foot reach the pedals, or if you know the functioning of each part of the car.

In fact the test is about a broader level of understanding of the car itself (i.e. the pattern of the MCQ test), control on the overall drive (when to increase the pace, when to slow down, i.e. having control and not losing it), giving way to drivers who look to be dangerous (skipping the time-consuming questions and coming back to them later), watching out for bad patches on the road or slippery turns and driving accordingly (i.e. looking out for confusing questions and recognizing the distractors), following the test examiner’s instructions fully (following the instructions given for the MCQ test ) and so on.

Given the above context, here are few useful tips to ace any MCQ test:

  1. During the preparation (Before the exam date):
  • Understand the exam pattern completely and practice as many mock tests as you can
  • Learn to recognize the type of questions that would take more time and the ones that can be solved within seconds
  • Develop your accuracy first and then start to work on the speed. Train yourself to finish at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time to re-look at the answers and correct any mistakes
  • While studying for the memory-based questions, make use of mnemonics extensively. e.g.: The colors in a rainbow may be remembered as VIBGYOR (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red). You can personally make up funny and easy-to-remember mnemonics for each subject to ensure that you remember these concepts
  • Learn the elimination tricks. In MCQ test for Maths, check the dimensions of the questions: in question about the volume, the units of the answer cannot be that of surface area
  1. During the exams:
  • Read the instructions very carefully, maybe twice and make a note of any anomaly. Scan the paper and the sections and develop a broad framework of how you will attempt the test. With enough practice, both these things together usually take 3-4 minutes
  • Start with the answers you are sure of and mark the questions for which you need more time to answer for later. Once done answering the easy questions, quickly move on to the next-level questions that require calculations, applying formulae or which have multiple steps involved
  • In case of negative marking, leave the questions which you are not sure of.
  • Keep a track of time and do not hurry up at the cost of accuracy. Avoid the tendency to be stuck in one question beyond a fixed time. Skip the time-consuming question and move ahead to the others
  • If it seems that you will not be able to finish the test in time, take a minute to scan if all the easy questions have been answered. Answer them and spend some time in revising all the questions that you have attempted. Remember accuracy is rewarded, not speed!!
  1. When you realize that due to shortage of time, you will not be able to attempt all the questions: (Strictly for ‘No negative-marking tests’)
  • If in doubt choose option C. The question designers who do not randomize the right options have a bias towards ‘C’ and then ‘B”
  • Choose the ‘longest option’. Many times, the right option cannot be shortened, but there is no rule for the wrong options
  • The questions with ‘All of the above’ as one of the options are easy to spot. Understand that for this option to be correct, all the options need to be correct, so, if you don’t see any wrong answers, or see that more than one is correct, the probability of ‘All of the above’ being correct is higher. Same applies to ‘None of the above’
  • In an English MCQ exam, look for grammatical agreement between the question and its options; ‘An…..’ and words starting with vowels or agreement between subject, object or verb
  • Look out for the options with typo or punctuation error. This is likely to be wrong. The MCQ test designers sometimes proofread the correct answers only

Trust your hard work and preparation for the exams more than anything else!!

Remember that hard work is the shortest path to success.

All the best for your exams!