In most of the world’s biggest medical licensing exams, multiple choice questions (MCQs) will make up the bulk of the questions you’ll answer. Fortunately, quality qbanks provide you with thousands of practice MCQs that can help you test your knowledge and prepare yourself for your exams. Below, you’ll find the top five tips for answering the most difficult MCQs in your qbanks or on your exams.
#1 – Read the Question at Least Two Times
The very first step in getting the correct answer on a difficult MCQ involves carefully reading the question and then re-reading it (sometimes several times) to ensure that you have the correct information. With many MCQs, overlooking a single word can completely change the context of the question, which can lead you to an incorrect answer. When you take the time to ensure you understand exactly what you’re being asked, you will have much better odds of answering it correctly.
#2 – Don’t Choose the First Answer that Seems Correct
Just as you took the time to carefully read the question, you should apply that same strategy to the answers. All too often, students choose the first answer in the list that seems to make sense rather than reviewing each of the possible answers carefully and choosing the correct one. Before you commit to an answer, read every possible answer and choose the one that best fits the question.
#3 – Rule Out the Incorrect Answers
If you’ve read both the question and its answers carefully but you still can’t seem to find the correct answer, you can start by ruling out any answers that you know are incorrect. Simply mark those answers off the list of choices and then focus on the ones that you have left. When you have fewer possibilities in front of you, your mind has far less information to sift through.
#4 – Skip the Questions You Don’t Know
If you’re taking your actual exam – or if you’re engaged in a timed study session in your qbank software – and you come across a question that you simply cannot answer, skip it for the time being and move on to a different question. There are two benefits in doing so. First, you won’t run out of time to answer the questions that you do know the answers to. Second, many students find that if they simply skip over difficult questions, they’ll often remember the correct answer a little later in the study session or exam. If you’re using a qbank platform, you can even leave yourself a note so that when you come back to the question, you’ll see your original train of thought.
#5 – Educated Guesses
If despite all these tips you still cannot seem to come up with the correct answer to a particularly difficult MCQ in your qbank or on your exam and your time is counting down, it’s always better to make an educated guess than to fail to answer the question altogether. If there are five possible correct answers but you don’t choose one of them, you have a zero percent chance of getting it right. On the other hand, if you choose an answer – any answer – at random, you’ve increased the odds of getting it right to 20%.