How to score well in IGCSE Science-Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple choice questions

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

Sub topics

  • Use of rules and measuring cylinders.......
  • Use of analogue and digital clocks.....
  • Studying the period of a simple pendulum...

Topic: Motion

Sub topics

  • Speed/Average Speed.......
  • Difference between Speed/Velocity
  • Plotting/interpreting Speed-time-Distance -time graphs.....
  • Studying  acceleration..
  • Acceleration of free fall...
  • etc.

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:

  1. 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"
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Also do not be tempted to put a tick on one of the options without even trying to read other options.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!!
  7. 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

 Solved and analysed past paper question pdf -A must see

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.



Smart Exam Resources