Multiple-choice examinations: adopting an evidence-based approach to exam technique

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Abstract

Summary

Negatively marked multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are part of the assessment process in both the Primary and Final examinations for the fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. It is said that candidates who guess will lose marks in the MCQ paper. We studied candidates attending a pre-examination revision course and have shown that an evaluation of examination technique is an important part of an individual's preparation. All candidates benefited substantially from backing their educated guesses while only 3 out of 27 lost marks from backing their wild guesses. Failure to appreciate the relationship between knowledge and technique may significantly affect a candidate's performance in the examination.

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