‘Multiple-Choice Questions’ are increasingly being used in the qualifying tests for admission by universities and institutes. Government and large companies also use multiple-choice tests for their recruitment process. As you rightly understand, multiple-choice questions consist of 4 or 5 answer options and you are asked to select the correct answer out of the given choices. They are also called single correct multiple-choice questions (MCQs). The multiple choice-questions are comparatively easy, since the answer is right in front of you. You just need to pick the right one. This may sound easy to you, isn’t it? But you need to be cautious of the negative marking in some of the tests that makes such multiple-choice tests tougher.
The only advantage of multiple-choice questions is that you may not need to calculate the correct answer till the very end. There are various tricks which help you to identify the correct answer and we will be discussing them shortly. However, you need to be cautious. Questions that look so simple and straightforward are not necessarily so easy. There could be carefully laid out traps. In a few examinations like IIT-JEE, there could be other types of multiple-choice questions, where two or more answer choices may be correct. You need to be careful and avoid falling into the trap. Some of the answer choices may be very close to others and some may be meant for testing completely opposite concepts. The best strategy would be to build a solid foundation and gain perfect conceptual understanding of all basic concepts and application skills.
Here are some tips and tricks that could be very beneficial to you:
- Use of answer choice as a substitute:In multiple-choice questions, the correct answer is listed as one of the options. One of the best ways to solve this is to substitute the nearest possible answer in the question and start working backwards. You need not use all the options since you might get it right in your third attempt. If you are using this trick, it’s a good idea to start with answer choice ‘C’ and work back and forth till you get the right answer.
- Eliminating answer options:Some of the questions may have obviously incorrect answer choices. These answers tend to violate basic concepts or facts. If you are able to eliminate the obviously incorrect options, you can easily guess from the remaining options. Remember the basic principle; if you are able to eliminate even one incorrect answer, you significantly improve your probability of getting the right answer from the limited choices.
- Use your guessing ability:In some of the tests, an incorrect answer negatively impacts your performance. You may even be penalized with a negative marking if you get an answer wrong in a multiple-choice question. Some questions are so complicated that you may not have sufficient time to solve them. What should you do in such a situation? In this case, the elimination strategy can be helpful. The reason is simple probability. Your odds of getting the right answer increases. All you have to do is to use your common sense, sound judgment and logical thinking to narrow down on the correct option.
- Follow the number strategy:In multiple-choice questions containing a variable, you can attempt to solve them by using the number strategy. If there are variables in the answer choices, you may consider applying your own numbers. You will be surprised to find out how easy it becomes to solve such questions.
- Use basic concepts and application skills:If the above mentioned strategies are not working in your favour, then you need to apply your conceptual understanding and application skills to answer the question. However be careful as you may get similar confusing concepts. You may be required to solve the question all the way to get the correct answer as there might be slight difference among the multiple answers given in the options.
- Use approximation strategy:Generally, in questions, the diagrams and graphs are accurately represented in the test unless stated otherwise. In such a situation, you can use the approximation strategy as most of the questions do not require long calculations but the nearest approximation value as the answer.
- Use of calculator:In many tests, calculators are not allowed inside the examination hall and you may find yourself doing extensive calculations to find the correct answer. Here you need to step back and do a reality check. There is probably an easier way to solve the problem that you may have overlooked. But in some of the tests where calculator is allowed, using it can be of great help, provided you know how to smartly use one.
- Level of difficulty:Generally, a question paper is organized in such a way that the easier questions are asked first and the difficult ones later. You can improve your score by getting the easy ones first under your belt quickly since they require less time. This helps to build your confidence and you can then work at a steady pace on the difficult questions.
- Loads of practice:The above mentioned tricks to solve multiple choice questions can boost your chances of success in real tests. But all these may turn futile if you don’t practice enough. With practice you would surely be able to fine tune your test taking skills. More of the questions you solve as a part of your test preparations more are the chances that you would get similar questions in your real test. As you practice solving multiple-choice questions, apply these simple tricks to brighten your chances of success in your dream entrance test.