What is the best MCQ practice method for ICSE and CBSE boards?

Now that the ICSE and CBSE boards have announced a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) exam pattern for the 2022 board exams, students and teachers are looking for ways to practice this new pattern.

So what is the most effective way to practice?

There are many resources that are now available for students.

  1. MCQ books - many publishers are selling books that contain chapterwise MCQs. These books typically range in price from 200 to 500 for each subject.
  2. MCQ worksheets - many websites are publishing pdf worksheets containing MCQs. These are usually limited to 10-25 questions per chapter, and the coverage is not comprehensive at all.
  3. Online MCQ tests - these are available on many websites or apps. Some of them are free, but they tend to be repetitive and limited in scope. So a student can solve a few MCQ questions per chapter, but will not get comprehensive practice.
So what is the best way to practice for the upcoming MCQ exams?

What should an effective MCQ testing method have?

Three principles of effective learning help us understand the best way to practice.

Self Testing

Research tells us that you don't become exam sharp by watching videos or reading books. You become exam sharp through actual practice. The best students know this secret, and spend most of their study time in practice.

Application of this principle to MCQs means that a good method will provide a student with a large number of randomly generated tests, so that the student is continuously testing herself, and getting actual feedback on how she is doing.

Continuous self testing is best done on an online platform. Books are not suitable, because once a question has been marked, you cannot use it again. If you do the marking on a separate paper, it is very time consuming to compare, score and get the result. Worksheets in pdf form also suffer from the same problem.

Distributed Learning

We know from research that students learn best by mixing up topics frequently, rather than focus on the same subject/topic for a long time. This happens because mixing topics enables a student to go through many cycles of information retrieval, which helps build neural networks that last longer.

Therefore while doing MCQs, you should be able to mix up topics when generating tests, and also switch from one subject to another easily and quickly. This is best done on an online platform specifically designed for distributed learning, which allows a student to select and customise their tests easily.

Again books, pdfs and videos are not very helpful in distributed learning. You have to keep switching, and also keep track of what you are doing.

Instant Feedback

Any system of self-testing should provide immediate corrective feedback, and helpful explanations so that the student corrects her mental model of that concept, and does not make the same mistake again.

While practicing MCQs, this principle necessitates that a complete answer sheet with suitable explanations be provided immediately after a student completes the test. For example in a maths test, the student must be able to see a stepwise solution/explanation for every question.

As you can imagine, books, pdfs and videos cannot provide this ability for a large number of tests. Even if a book or worksheet has the answers and explanations at the back, it is cumbersome and time consuming to look them up again and again.

Comprehensive Coverage

Clearly the MCQ practice must include all kinds of questions that may be asked in the board exam - concept, definition, application, numericals, diagrams, equations, maps, and so on. Also the questions should include various levels of difficulty and cognitive ability. As an example, Bloom's taxonomy levels go from recall all the way to anlysis and evaluation.

And of course the MCQ practice method should not cost the moon! It should be affordable and easily accessible.

The FlashCardz platform

The FlashCardz platform meets all of the above needs because it was built on the principles of effective learning. MCQs are not new to us. We have had them for the last 3 years, because they are a wonderful way to help students understand how well they have understood their concepts.

For about the price of a book (₹275 to ₹500) you get a comprehensive solution to revise one subject. You can choose to subscribe to any number of subjects based on your need.
  1. Randomly generated tests from the huge database of all kinds of MCQs
  2. Ability to customize your tests by combining chapters
  3. Instant evaluation with answer-sheets and explanations
  4. Thousands of subject flashcards, organized in the form decks per chapter. If you don't do well in a test, flashcards are a great way to revise and test yourself again!
  5. Hundreds of subject crosswords that help you solidify your learning in a fun way
  6. Perfect alignment of all the content with the current board syllabus
And we also offer a free trial for 5 days. Try all of this for free for 5 days to convince yourself that this method works for you!

All the best for your exams.

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