Multiple choice questions can be very tricky. But understanding how they work and taking a systematic approach to them will make them much more manageable. Of course, none of this will help if you simply don’t know the material. But if you’re prepared with regard to your knowledge level, some preparation for the style of examination will help reduce the stress level associated with the exam and enable you to manage the mechanics of the questions—which, in turn, will improve your performance. This preparation will also help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of multiple choice exams that may not be related to how well you know the material. In other words, our objective here is to develop your skills with respect to the mechanics of Multiple Choice exams—i.e., we want to improve your test-taking skills.
To begin with, let’s consider the structure of a multiple choice question. Each question consists of the question itself (often called the “stem”) and a set of options to choose from to indicate the answer. Within the options, there is one correct answer and a set of incorrect answers (often called “distractors”). These distractors are in place to distract you from the correct response. On Transport Canada exams, there is one correct answer (of course) and there are three distractors. Your job as a pilot candidate is to select the correct response from the four options that are presented. Consider the following as an example:
|Who was the first Prime Minister of Canada?||STEM|
|1) Brian Mulroney.||DISTRACTOR|
|2) John A. MacDonald.||ANSWER|
|3) Jean Chretien.||DISTRACTOR|
|4) Pierre Trudeau.||DISTRACTOR|
In this question, we can see the typical layout of a multiple choice question.
Multiple choice questions can also have one of several different questioning styles, they can:
A given question can usually be presented in more than one format. For example, the following seven sample questions are all the same basic question in different multiple choice forms. Any given exam would normally include a mix of all of these question types.
|a) required extensive repairs after a major launch accident in 1986.||d) had 9 successful missions.|
|b) was the second space shuttle to be launched, Columbia being the first.||e) was destroyed in an explosion during it’s last flight.|
|c) was used to install the Canadarm II on the International Space Station.|