“We are a few days away from midterm examinations? Yikes! It feels like this semester just started yesterday.”

That is probably your reaction, I’m guessing. If it is then you’re panicking or you’re about to if it’s not then well you might still be panicking.

Anyway, I thought I might claim down your nerves a little. Since most of the MTEs are objective, knowing how to answer MCQs in a dead-on manner might free your mind. So that’s what this blabbing is about.

So how do you do it? How do you answer objective questions like a boss?

Understand the question

First thing is first, understanding the question is the most important thing in giving an answer. Every answer is correct but not to every question.

So I advise you to read every question at least three times and identify what it’s asking for. With multiple choice questions you might also want to be careful with those, “Not” and “Except” tricks.

So take your time otherwise you might give the correct answer to the wrong question.

Brainstorm for the answer

This is a technique I personally use with MCQs. I try to give the answer before looking at the options I have been given. This helps me distinguish the wrong answers from the correct one(s).

It also helps avoid those options that seem similar to the answer but they are not quite it. Those ones can be a toughie. So have an idea of what the answer might be.

Analyse the given options

Now, this needs patience too. Examine all the options you have been given and I mean all of them. Some questions have several correct answers so may require a checklist.

Now there two ways to approach this:

The first one is to check which choice(s) is correct. You look at the options and you pick the one(s) that best answers the question based on the knowledge you have.

Secondly is to check which option(s) may not be correct in any way. You know those options that make you say, “What are you? Dumb?” Yes, those options. You can cross them out and remain with the possible answer.

The second one is used mostly when you’re sort of uncertain but it’s still effective.

Answer the question

Obviously! After going through all these steps you want to answer the question. So based on the options analysis give the answer.

However, if you’re uncertain I say start the whole process again from understanding the question.

If still uncertain, well negative marking is no joke. That animal can rip you in pieces, so leave it un-attempted. It’s not being defeated, it protecting what you have already achieved.

All the best!

-Wangisani Kumalakwaanthu