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MCQ learning strategies

General Statements about Objective Tests

  1. Objective tests require recognition and recall of subject matter. You should read and understand the basic structure of the subjects to memorise.

  2. The forms vary: questions of fact, sentence completion, true-false, analogy, multiple-choice, and matching.

  3. They tend to cover more material than essay tests. In descriptive examinations limited questions with focus on selected areas. In the case of multiple choice questions, we need to read and understand entire material, so not an easy one to do.

  4. They have one, and only one, correct answer to each question. It does not mean that there will be right answer, there are chances that there will be wrong answers also.

  5. They may require strict preparation like memorization, practicing more and more questions.

Before Answering

  1. Understand carefully to the directions.

  2. Notice if there is a penalty for guessing.

  3. Glance quickly through the entire test.

  4. Observe point values of different sections.

  5. Budget your time. Time planning is very important.

  6. Read the instructions and follow them.

  7. Write your name on each page of the test, if allowed.

  8. Do not do anything which is not allowed specifically.

While Answering

  1. Read all directions carefully.

  2. Read each question carefully.

  3. If allowed to, underline key words. In online examinations and in some offline examinations it is not allowed and do not expect this. So you can just remember the keywords and do analysis based on that.

  4. Answer the easy questions first. You will have option to come back and do later or correct later.

  5. Skip questions that stump you. Mark them to come back later, that means if you do not feel confident, skip and come back if possible.

  6. If you have time at the end, go back to the questions you marked.

  7. Do not go back over every question. Reread only the ones that you were unsure of. No need or no attempts need to be made to reread and correct all the questions.

  8. Do not second-guess yourself. Change an answer only if you are absolutely sure your first answer was wrong.

  9. Make sure you have answered all the questions. If possible do not skip any questions

  10. If you have no idea of the answer, guess! Let it can be a lottery, but when there is negative marking you need to be careful.


  1. Prepare thoroughly for all of your exams. There is no real substitute for studying. Start studying for your final exam the first day of class.

  2. Use a variety of study strategies. Know your preferred learning style and take advantage of it!

  3. Pay no attention to students who finish early. Do not automatically presume that students who finish early did well on the test (they often leave early because they didn't study enough!)

  4. Plan on being the last one to leave. That way you can relax and make the most of your time.

  5. Ignore what other students are saying before and after the exam.

  6. Consider all alternatives in a multiple choice question before making your decision.

  7. Always guess if there is no penalty for guessing.

  8. Do not guess if there is a penalty for guessing and you have no basis on which to make a good choice.

  9. Eliminate options which are known to be incorrect and choose from the remaining options.

  10. Look for information in test items that will help you answer other questions.

  11. Pay close attention to key words on True-False Tests.

a. Closed words (such as never, only, always, all, none, and most) are often (but not always) indicators of a false statement because they restrict possibilities.

b. Open words (such as usually, frequently, mostly, may, and generally) are often (but not always) found in true statements.


To help you score as high as possible on all exams we have devised a plan of attack called SCORER. Each letter in the word stands for an important rule in test-taking. SCORER is based on the experience of many teachers and students and on research findings -- it might work for you!

S - Schedule your time.

C - Clue words help.

O - Omit the difficult questions.

R - Read carefully.

E - Estimate your answers.

R - Review your work.

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