Do you have an upcoming multiple-choice exam? How is your studying coming along? Are you feeling confident that you will pass the exam?
Studying is always a good idea. However, sometimes it is beneficial to gain behind-the-scene insights about the experts who have or will be creating the multiple-choice exam you will be completing.
So, let’s pull back the curtain to see how exam-creators think about multiple-choice exams so you can become a great exam-taker.
Exam-Creators are typically the experts of a specific subject or profession. But they are also real people who have learned the skills of exam creation, especially now that digital multiple-choice exam software is so easy to use and administer. Some exam-creators have been self-taught about how to create exams. Others have taken courses on how to do it. So, the more you know about what they know about creating exams, the better you will understand the exam you need to take.
Take time to Google and read articles about how to create multiple-choice exams. They are the same articles exam-creators have probably read to know how to prepare multiple-choice exams. So, think like they think, and you will have an exam-taking advantage.
Exam-creators, if they have been trained well about exam-creating, will only ask questions on the exam about what they have taught or presented online or virtually. So, it is well worth your time and effort to notice when they focus more time and energy on certain subjects or topics.
Sometimes they will say, 'This is really important’ when teaching key concepts. Or, they will say that a certain part of the program is their favourite. So, you need to pay extra attention to what they pay extra attention to when explaining the topic or subject.
Even their voice tone and non-verbal clues will indicate what they are excited about teaching. If they are excited about teaching it, they will be excited about creating exam questions to test it.
Exam-creators love learning and especially learning about their area of expertise. However, they know that they can’t include high level (or difficult) questions throughout the exam. These difficult questions would be the types of questions they would find interesting to answer. So, when preparing the exam, they know they need to think about the average student. They then write questions that will be easy for average students to answer. They will then write some moderately difficult questions for the better than average students. Finally, they will write much more difficult questions for the really good students.
How do you think of yourself? Are you an average student? If you are, then you will be able to correctly answer the ‘average student’ questions. However, ask yourself, ‘What types of questions would they create for the ‘better than average student’? What questions would they ask a ‘really good student’?
Be prepared to answer all three different types of student-centric questions so you will get a great mark.
Do not underestimate the additional insights you can gain from focusing on the world of the exam-creator. They are humans just like you with the job of testing to what extent their learners have learned. You can think like they think to gain an exam-taking advantage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valerie Dixon, M.Ed., CTDP, President of Learnware Design Inc., is a leading expert in the field of workplace learning and performance. Valerie has over 40 years of experience in all aspects of performance needs analysis, learning strategy development and learning design for all types of media. She is a recognized thought leader for the design and development of learning systems, programs and strategies that ensure accelerated competence™.
She knows how to help others gain, retain, recall, and reuse new knowledge and skills, with less stress. She believes that learning is a skill just like any other skill. Learning competencies can be learned. Learning faster, smarter, and better than anyone else is a major competitive advantage, especially in today's complex, content-heavy, ever-changing, and high-tech environments.
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