How to score well in IGCSE Science-Multiple Choice Questions
This article is written to help students score really well in answering IGCSE Science Multiple Choice Questions namely; 0625-IGCSE Physics, 0620-IGCSE Chemistry, 0610-IGCSE Biology,0654-IGCSE Coordinated Science and 0653-IGCSE -Combined Sciences.So lets begin our discussion through a question-answer approach:
1.Why is it so important to discuss on scoring well in Multiple Choice Question ( MCQ) Paper when 4 options are already given and it is just a 40 mark paper?
- Well, MCQ's are 40 marks on a total of 160 marks per science, so that means it 25% of the total marks! which is quiet a lot!
- Secondly the IGCSE syllabus is asumed to be completely application based ( The fact is that a large number of questions are also intended to test the understanding of basic concepts. ) SO one needs to develop the skill of getting correct solutions to the questions. Sometimes two options seem closely related so one needs to be in a position to quicly decide on the correct answer! I used the worwuickly because Solving 40questions in a span of 45 minutes is a quick affair.
2. Are'nt 40 minutes too less to answer 40 questions?
Well the answer can be a yes if you cannot solve every MCQ question in precisley a minute. This can happen if you spend more than a minute in pondering over the correct answer. And when can this happen? Well this can happen if :
- The scientific language of the question is not clear to you so youre trying to re-read and understand the question several time and have forgotten the time limit in the process.
- If the question is directly based on a concept but you are still stuck, then this indicates that you have not studied your concepts well and thats making you spend more time in thinking over the correct solution.
- The question can be an application based question and you do not know to apply your concept to this novel situation.This indicates that you havent polished your application skills really well.or you havent read the question really well and have missed out the key information provided adn so you arent able to arrive at the correct answer. It can also happen that the question is really a challenging one and is supposed to test your true application skills and the examiner really wants only the highly skilled children to get their A stars!
So time management is one thing which plays a major role in completing the paper in 45 minutes. So you need to train yourself by solving many Multiple choice Question Papers either Topic wise or either Year wise, depending on what stage of preparation you are in.
3. How should one prepare for MCQ's?
1. Learn your concepts really well. Use multiple reference books and multiple website resources and prepare yourself thoroughly with the content first.
2. Make your notes and jot down key concepts in each lesson and match everything that you learn with the syllabus. Make sure you know the difference between the core and the extended curriculum. Also remembers that since 2016, different papers are set for core and extended students even for the multiple choice examinations
3. Study all diagrams in the syllabus along with all concepts .Rather make a separate book of diagrams and keep practising on a regular basis so that you can pocket your marks easily.
4. Try mastering subtopics ( from the syllabus and not text book) and not a topic directly . Let me give you an example:
For instance :
0625-General Physics [ Now renamed as Energy, Forces and motion for the 2023/2024/2025 examinations]
Topic : 1.1-Length and time
- Use of rules and measuring cylinders.......
- Use of analogue and digital clocks.....
- Studying the period of a simple pendulum...
- Speed/Average Speed.......
- Difference between Speed/Velocity
- Plotting/interpreting Speed-time-Distance -time graphs.....
- Studying acceleration..
- Acceleration of free fall...
This means Pick one subtopic , say: Use of rules and measuring cylinders,, Understand the concept clearly and then attempt all questions that you have for it.Then take the second subtopic and repeat the process untill all subtopics have been practised thoroughly.
So the important thing here is to make a proper plan to study and solve questions
Having done the above make a list of concepts that you still find difficult to remember and concepts that you find difficult to apply to new situations. So if remebering concepts is an issue then you need to learn the concepts daily so that they get registered in your memory always.Practise makes a man perfect. also remember not to keep certain things to be learnt just before the exam day. This is the case, when the concept sems boring or too much of a task to cram.
Now some quick tips:
- Always make it a habit to read the question for the first time a bit slowly but with complete understanding. This way you are saved from re-reading the question all over again just because you read it hastily the first time."Remember hast is waste"
- Attempt solving all those questions first that you feel are directly based on concepts and do not require much thinking.This way you save time per easy question which can be used for solving the tougher ones.
- If there is a sum, then work it out and arrive at the answer and then match your answer with the best possible option.Remember to take into account the units as most marks are lost when units are overlooked.
- Also do not be tempted to put a tick on one of the options without even trying to read other options.
- Always read any line printed above images. Its a general tendency to ignore the first few lines above diagrams and continuing further.There was surely a reason why those words were ever printed!
- Also never feel that the answers have a pattern . Some students feel that if the first three answers AAA, then the the forth, fifth and sixth will be BBB ( this is especially if you;re stuck on the fith and you want to make a wild guess!) Remember its no musical and examiners arent planning questions keeping in mind the pattern AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD and repeat!!
- Sometimes questions may look the same but the data ( numericals or some other thing might have got changed as compared to the previous year questions that you must have solved earlier) might be actually different. So dont bring back to memory , the answer to this similar looking question and just tick an option on this wrong thinking. Chances are that had you tried to re-read the question, then you would have arrived at the correct solution. questions
Now some things I would like to share :
When the time is less, say you have not worked hard for the entire year and now want to still score really well, here is what you may do.
- Open the mark scheme and tick the correct answers on your question paper . Sounds weird right? never mind, but continue reading further. If you cannot find the time to do it, ask some one from your family.
- Once this is done, your job now is to justify why the particular answer is correct and write it down.
- The benefit of doing this is that you get to develop an in-depth clarity of concepts . Remember 40 MCQ's actually teach you 40 important concepts. This strengthens your understanding of many theory concepts too in turn.
- Then when you are tired doing this then take an MCQ paper and start solving the regular way and then check your answers.
- Also my request to you is never just ask somebody to correct your papers and tell you your marks. This is because at the moment , it is not the marks that purely matter, i what matters most is to know what you did wrong.
- Also it is important to dentify the pattern in your mistakes, whether it is the concept you are weak at, or the drawings or the interpretation of the questions, just whatever. You need to identify it and try and not to repeat the same mistake ever.
Also towards the end i would like to say that never try and think that the markscheme is wrong. This is also something that one tries to believe sometimes. I am not saying that the markscheme might be 100% errorless , we are all humans and errors are human, but having said that it is also true that the errors in Cambridge markschemes and papers are one in a million, so when we get a wrong answer, dig deeper into the question, consult your peers and teachers to get to the correct answer in some way or the other.
So now that you know how to prepare yourself for Multiple Choice Questions, i am sure you are in a better position to plan your studies. Sure I will come back with more tips soon. Untill then, Best wishes dear students. May you all do extremely well in your exams and your chosen fields.
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