How to answer MCQs
Simon Chen offers some tips on answering multiple choice and true or false questions
- By: Simon D M Chen
Multiple choice questions (MCQs) are set by most British medical schools in examinations and often form a substantial component of written final exams. Many prize exams and postgraduate medical exams also incorporate MCQs into their assessments.
The most commonly used MCQ format is a stem question followed by five statements, each of which must be answered true, false, or dont know. Scoring MCQs may involve negative marking--a term which strikes fear into the heart of medical students the world over--in which one mark is awarded for a correct answer, one mark deducted for an incorrect answer, and no mark awarded or deducted for dont know.
Each year, students may unexpectedly fail written exams despite extensive preparation, not through lack of knowledge or intelligence, but simply because of poor exam technique. Candidates often find themselves leaving an MCQ exam completely unsure of how they have done. The way students approach MCQs,