top tips for handling multiple choice questions

19-03-2014

As part of our process to harmonise the UK (PQ) and international (IPFM) qualifications, the Financial Accounting and Management Accounting syllabus and assessment strategy have been changed. From the June 2014 exam sitting 40% each of these papers will be assessed by 20 multiple choice questions (MCQs). For students who are unfamiliar with this format, here are some top tips for doing well in multiple choice assessments.

  • Make sure you carefully add your candidate number and exam title to the MCQ answer sheet provided. MCQ answer sheets are marked separately to the longer questions so must be separated from the rest of your exam script. If you do not input the correct identifying information on the answer sheet, your attempt may not be marked.
  • Ensure that you are familiar with all examinable aspects of the syllabus. Rather than assuming that MCQs are an easier type of assessment (this is not so), students should recognise that MCQs present the opportunity to examine a greater spread of the syllabus in each exam sitting.
  • Read each question and come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible choices. Doing so means you are less likely to be thrown off by one of the incorrect choices – the incorrect answers are likely to have some element of plausibility to them.
  • Before indicating your answer, make sure that you have read the question and all the choices carefully. Once you have chosen, clearly indicate one answer to each question. Often students change their minds and do not show which is the final answer, which should be clearly marked with an X. Where answers are unclear, a mark will not be given.
  • In the CIPFA exams marks are not deducted for incorrect answers to MCQs. It is therefore always worth answering the question, even if you are not 100% sure that your answer is correct.
  • While keeping a careful eye on your timings, as in all exams, do take your time with the MCQs. It is easy to pick one of the plausible, but incorrect, answer options if you try to rush the MCQs.