– Pallavi Upadhyaya
Competency-based multiple-choice questions are not based on recall but rather target the higher-order thinking skills of the students and assess their ability to apply, analyse and synthesise.
There is a huge misconception among students — that since the question paper will be based on the multiple-choice questions pattern they do not have to study too hard. As the paper is based on MCQs, students need to understand that they won’t be able to bluff anymore.
Earlier, the recall method was encouraged and the students were required to remember the texts and formulas. Also, the students were allowed to answer the questions in their own creative words. Now the competency-based questions require the students to give precise answers and use their critical thinking skills without sacrificing their creativity.
The questions may have stimuli such as a graph, picture or a news clip. The questions can also be based on a case study in the context of a lesson. As the MCQ pattern is new for the class 10 students, students should take note of these important points while appearing in the CBSE board term-1 exams.
— The reading time should be used effectively and the students should go through each question carefully and identify those questions they are confident about. They can look at the tough questions later after attempting all the easy ones.
— The students should read the instructions carefully. A certain number of questions need to be answered in every section and the students should double-check to see whether they have answered the required number of questions or not.
— The students should check whether there are double negatives in the question and understand how the questions are framed. What may seem a logical answer at first may be an incorrect one if the question is not read properly.
— There will be one correct answer and three distractors. The answers may be quite close to each other but only one answer would be the most suitable one. So by the method of elimination one can identify the correct answer.
— While reading the question, students should not look at the answers but try to analyse and answer before looking at the choices. This would help them to not be distracted by the wrong choices.
— Since there is no negative marking, no question should be left unanswered. This means the number of questions required to be answered per section, should be answered even if some of them are pure guess work and if the students are unsure of the answers. Even though it could be pure guesswork, they should try to reason it out logically before selecting the answer.
— The students should not waste too much time over a question as they need to finish 50 questions in 90 minutes which means, they don’t get even 2 minutes per question. So they should learn to manage their time effectively.
Students should practice sample question papers on the model OMR sheets provided by CBSE to understand the exam pattern and time management for appearing in the exam.
There is no substitute for hard work. If the students are thorough with the lessons, they will be able to answer the questions confidently.
(The author is Principal, DPS Raj Nagar Extension Ghaziabad)