Learn Alternative techniques for solving MCQs

Learn Alternative techniques for solving MCQs
  • Anticipate the correct answer without looking at the available options. In this way you are not distracted by the given alternatives.
  • If you do not know the answer choose the process of elimination and cross the answers you know will not work for sure.
  • Use “true-false test” to narrow your selection to the best answer. Change the question into a statement with each of the possible choices and select the one that is true.
  • If more than one answer seems to be correct, make sure that the answer you are considering completely addresses the question. It is probably not the answer if it is true only under certain circumstances. Take the question at face value and do not read too much into it, imagining scenarios in which the answer could be true.
  • If you can’t eliminate any of the options and you’ve to take a blind guess, then it’s better not to attempt the question if negative marks are disproportionately high. Let me explain this with an example. If someone guesses on all the 100 questions in a 4-option multiple choice test, s/he will get 25 questions correct if the answers are completely randomized. And if the test carries 1 mark for every correct and negative 1/3 for every incorrect answer, then s/he will get 0/ 100. However, if negative marks per incorrect answer are more than 1/3 (in that case, negative marks are disproportionately high), then the test discourages blind guessing, and you should avoid it
  • However, if you can eliminate few incorrect answers, then it’s fine to make a smart guess


1)  Intelligent Guessing

The below rules do not always work. A smart examiner will usually avoid writing questions for which these strategies work. Therefore use them only if you have to.

– Alternatives that do not fit grammatically with the question or are completely unrelated to it are usually wrong.
– Eliminate choices that basically mean the same thing. They are just worded differently. Although if two responses are similar but not the same choose one of them.
– Look for grammatical clues. For instance if the question ends with “an”, then the alternative should probably start with a vowel.
– Eliminate responses that seem extreme. For example if the answer is a number and your choices are 5, 70, 76, 856, then remove the numbers 5 and 856 and take a guess from the remaining alternatives. Although if two alternatives are opposite each other then one of them is probably correct.
– If you feel that two out of three responses seem correct, then “all of the above” is a strong possibility.
– If two responses contain a similar sounding word, choose one of these. (For example: accept and expect, affect and effect.)
– Lastly, if all else fails, choose one of the middle responses. Many examiners feel that it is better if the answer is hidden, surrounded by distractors.

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