Thursday 17 September 2015

Tips for Solving MCQs of Entry Tests - MCAT/ECAT

- Center for Teaching Excellence -

There are many strategies for maximizing your success on multiple choice exams. The best way to improve your chances, of course, is to study carefully before the exam. There is no good substitute for knowing the right answer. Even a well-prepared student can make silly mistakes on a multiple choice exam, however, or can fall prey to distracters that look very similar to the correct answer.

Here are a few tips to help reduce these perils:

  • Before you begin taking the exam, enter all pieces of required information on your answer sheet
  • If you are so eager to start that you forget to enter your name and ID number, your results may never be scored.
  • Remember: your instructor will not be able to identify you by handwriting or similar text clues.
  • Always cover up the possible responses with a piece of paper or with your hand while you read the stem,
  • or body of the question.
  • Try to anticipate the correct response before you are distracted by seeing the options that your instructor has provided.
  • Then, uncover the responses.
  • If you see the response that you anticipated, circle it and then check to be sure that none of the other responses is better.
  • If you do not see a response that you expected, then consider some of the following strategies to eliminate responses
  • that are probably wrong.
  • None of these strategies is infallible. A smart instructor will avoid writing questions for which these strategies work,
  • but you can always hope for a lapse of attention.
  • Responses that use absolute words, such as "always" or "never" are less likely to be correct than ones that
  • use conditional words like "usually" or "probably."
  • "Funny" responses are usually wrong.
  • "All of the above" is often a correct response.
  • If you can verify that more than one of the other responses is probably correct, then choose "all of the above."
  • "None of the above" is usually an incorrect response,
  • but this is less reliable than the "all of the above" rule. Be very careful not to be trapped by double negatives.
  • Look for grammatical clues. If the stem ends with the indefinite article "an," for example,
  • then the correct response probably begins with a vowel.
  • The longest response is often the correct one, because the instructor tends to load it with qualifying adjectives
  • or phrases.
  • Look for verbal associations. A response that repeats key words that are in the stem is likely to be correct.
  • If all else fails, choose response (b) or (c). Many instructors subconsciously feel that the correct answer is "hidden" better
  • if it is surrounded by distracters. Response (a) is usually least likely to be the correct one.
  • If you cannot answer a question within a minute or less, skip it and plan to come back later.
  • Transfer all responses to the answer sheet at the same time, once you have marked all questions
  • on your exam. (If you try to do several things at once, you increase the probability of making a mistake.
  • Saving the relatively mindless job of filling in bubbles until the last step reduces the probability of making silly errors.)
  • Be sure that you have filled the appropriate bubbles carefully IN PENCIL.
  • our instructor will probably never take a close look at your answer sheet, so if you fail to fill in bubbles
  • completely or if you make stray marks,
  • only the computer will notice, and you will be penalized. Erase any accidental marks completely.
  • Take the time to check your work before you hand in the answer sheet.
  • Unlike an essay exam, on which you may later appeal a grade on the grounds that the instructor
  • misunderstood your response, a multiple choice exam offers you no opportunity for "partial credit."
  • If you filled the wrong bubble, your answer is 100% wrong.

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