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The Art and Science of solving MCQ’s like a topper


Fascinating, isn’t it? The way three simple letters resonate in your nightmares, overload your cognitive senses in moments of truth and make you curl up in your blanket and pray to almighty. And all of this is done by actually displaying the answer to a posed question right in front of your eyes, hidden within other choices. But students would rather have no choice to begin with rather than being tricked by the illusion of choice.

I am here to tell you there are ways to break this illusion and attain clarity. Being an average student, from an average school, with above average ambitions I was told that I might excel in a primitive pedagogy but I would never score well in competitive exams. Ironically, I have never received any scholarly accolades in my college time but I did obtain single digit ranks in all my competitive exams.

And I did it by applying my common sense. I like to term it my rule of three-


Rule 1

Plant a tree-

Medical science is a vast discipline. The content of our subjects is packed with information and theories. But theories are meant for inculcating a guideline along which one moves to solve a practical problem. Thus it is more important to understand the theory rather than mugging it up.

Once the theory is understood the foundation for practical approach is built. Now the important part is to convert this theoretical knowledge into objective and solution oriented points.

These points will act both as a recollection tool and a quick ready reference to prepare for multiple choice problems.


Rule 2

Connect the dots-

We are taught specific subjects  of medical science over the course of 5 odd years. The curriculum is compartmentalized for efficient discharge and subsequent absorption of knowledge.

But a patient’s correct and accurate analysis dependent on unifying the knowledge obtained from the different compartments. Unless you do that, diagnosis of a patient will become incorrect since you might succumb to the pressure.

A MCQ is similar to this. It is an objective representation of a patient’s situation. It tests your ability to apply your cumulative knowledge and corresponding performance under a time induced stress.  

You can master this technique by constantly recollecting your topics and discussing intellectual questions with each other. This initiates a chain of higher thinking and decreases the time required to connect all the dots.


Rule 3

Skill of educated guess-

The curriculum of a MBBS degree is but a mere drop in the ocean that is medical science. What you retain from the teachings is further a speck in that drop.

It may so happen a question be asked from any of the parts outside your bubble of knowledge. A wise person would accept their limitation and move on to the next question. But a smart person would try to make an educated guess.

To learn this technique one must be aware of everything they already know and momentarily forget about what they do not know. The art of guessing constitutes of these steps

-          Divide the question in three portions

-          Find out what you know about each part of the question

-          Try and concentrate on what you can associate from your memory with those particular parts of the question by applying logic

Now half the battle is won. By this process you might have eliminated one choice. If, by applying yourself further, you can eliminate another option the mathematics of guessing kicks in. In this situation you have a 50% percent chance of ticking the right answer. That is a chance you can afford to take.

By using both the art and science of guessing you can have  a methodical approach instead of a haphazard path. In the end it is a game of chance, but more often than not it is possible to narrow the options down to two or even the correct option.


But aspirants need to keep in mind these two fundamental sins-

-          Overthinking

-          Underthinking

If you are facing a direct and common question which you have faced a lot of times before then the smart thing to do would be to trust your first instinct. These are on the money most of the times and also helps avoid silly mistakes. This is an example where overthinking ensues.


If you are facing an indirect and uncommon question then the rule of elimination is to be applied. Failure to do so will result in silly mistakes. In this instance underthinking may be your downfall.


Macro tips-

-          Eliminate the fear of MCQ’s and start treating it as a fun quiz or puzzle. Most toppers confess during interviews that they love solving MCQ’s and that it brings them genuine joy. If you can emerge from the hatred for them and start embracing them instead, you will increase your chances of scoring high.


-          Keep appearing for tests- be it TND, Grand test, CBT etc.. These tests will train you in committing to an answer which is usually the make or break difference between casually solving MCQs and solving MCQ’s in a test format.


-          Whenever you feel critical of the new format just remind yourself of how you are directing your energy towards uncontrollable aspects. Instead use it to remind your self of the reason you joined this field and what your end goal is. Always have clarity of your destination. The path will clear up on its own.


-          Make a pledge- APNA TIME APUN KHUD LAYEGA!



The Art and Science of solving MCQ’s like a topper Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Monday, February 28, 2022 Rating: 5

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