Physics explains the fundamental laws of the universe and introduces important concepts that are essential for advanced study of chemistry, biology and all other branches of science. There are numerous concepts and endless equations to understand and memorise. Among the challenges that Physics students face are multiple choice questions.
Test questions are designed to measure skills and knowledge gained over a long period of time. Multiple choice test questions, also known as items, can be an effective and efficient way to assess learning outcomes. Some may think it’s easy given the correct answer is already there and you just have to guess but some questions may have tricked you leading to answer wrongly.
The challenge, however, is that regardless of your intelligence or consistent physics tuition attendance you will find these questions confusing due to similar ideas they present; yet only one option is correct. We have baked delicious test strategies that will surely satisfy your cravings!
1. Understand the parts:
Multiple choice tests are made up of three key components. First is the stem- it states the question that is to be answered. Second part is the correct answer which is the best of the possible answers to the question. Third part is the distractions – It contains the remaining three options which are the incorrect options. They might look conceivable but are in not the correct ones. There is only one best possible answer.
2. Read carefully:
Read through the question carefully and avoid jumping to any conclusion that you think the question refers to. Complete the questions which you are sure about, first. For the questions which you have a difficulty in solving, narrow down the options before proceeding. Multiple choice questions not only test your recalling and reasoning ability but they test your ability to understand properly and thoughtfully, as well.
Words such as often, generally, may, seem, seldom are often more accurate and can indicate a statement which is true. After all kinds of such readings, if you do not know the answer, what to do? Guess! Make an educated guess and when there is no negative marking; do not leave any question unanswered.
3. Anticipate the answers as you read the questions:
When you read the question, try and answer the question before you see the options that are given. If a person is better in answering essays and short answer questions, this strategy will be of greater help to him/her. In fact, research shows that around one third of test takers fare better by using this strategy alone.
4. Eliminate each clearly incorrect answer:
There are some options which are a complete misfit and should be eliminated as you read through them. There are always few such answers and after eliminating them, you are left with fewer choices to choose from. So, you should always narrow down your choices when you cannot get the answer in the first shot.
5. Underline the key part of the question which contains the key to the answer:
The question might be lengthy and complex to understand and all the information might be relevant and hence we cannot filter it out. So what to do in such case? You should underline the key part of the question, the most relevant details. Some might not allow using highlighter and in such case you can use a pen or pencil.
For example, the question states: – As per brain imaging studies, which part of the brain is responsible for primal emotions like hostility and fear? Now the key words are part of brain and primal emotions. When you underline and focus on these words, you can recall the answer quickly as compared to reading the whole question again and again.
6. Use the formula sheet to answer questions
Solving problems in physics requires you to grasp the basic formulas. In most cases, the formula sheet is provided. However, when a formula sheet is not accepted in the exam room, consider mastering all the relevant formulas before the exam. You can also write the formulas on your booklet once you settle in the exam room for reference.
7. Don’t read too deep into the Questions:
When you really don’t know the answer to a question, it’s easy to over-analyze. You might wonder if it’s a trick question or if there’s some kind of deeper meaning. Most of the time the question means exactly what it says and you should take it at face value. If you’re already confused, there’s no point in making things even more complicated for yourself.
None of these methods or tips work 100 percent of the time (after all, you’re guessing). The point is to narrow down your options and come up with the best possible guess. Also, remember that there are no patterns in an OMR sheet. The fact that three ‘b’s came in a row before the question you blanked out at does NOT imply that the answer to your mystery question would also be ‘b’.
8. Ask for examples of past exams:
If you have struggled with multiple choice exams in the past, you may ask the instructor if they can provide practice tests for the course. You can also ask them for examples of questions from old exams. Here in The Physics Cafe, you can easily access our Resources for Mock Exam Paper.
- Use the old exams and example questions to prepare for the test. Study the structure of the questions as well as the provided answers. Take several practice tests to get better at multiple choice style exams.