All the competitive exams today are objective type, i.e. MCQ type. They have 4 options out of which 1 or more are correct. There are some differences between a subjective and an objective test –

Objective test | Subjective test |

Only the final answer matters, not the method or number of words, etc | Proper logical flow is required in answer |

OMR should be filled incorrectly | Handwriting and paper should be neat |

Steps do not matter, students should reach the final answer in minimum time | The answer should step by step, each step carries marks |

The negative marking may or may not be present | No negative marking |

Due to these, the test taking strategy for these tests also differ. Students in an objective exam need to be quick and reach the final answer as fast as possible. Now even after you are fully prepared and have practised enough, there are some tips that will help you reach the answer quickly, and maximise your score.

- Eliminate the wrong option(s) – this trick is very helpful when you are not sure about the answer or the question involves long calculation. Rather than panicking, start eliminating options. You will realize that there are some options that cannot be true at any case. For instance, check the units of all options. Some options may have incorrect units, and you can eliminate them right away. For example, consider the question :

- When 5 V potential difference is applied across a wire of length 0.1 m, the drift speed of electrons is . if the electron density in the wire is the resistivity of the metal is close to

- (correct units)

(b) (incorrect units)

(c)(incorrect units)

(d) (correct units)

- Questions with options like “All of these” – in case one of the options to the question is “all of the above”, then you actually just need to first check if any of the other three options is incorrect. If so, you can also eliminate “all of the above” and you will be left with 2 options to consider. Also when two answers are correct in a multiple choice question with an “All of the above” option, then it’s probably the correct choice.
- Check the Dimensions – This technique is very handy in Physics paper, where you can filter options by looking at their dimension. For example, consider this complicated looking question –

- A highly rigid cubical block A of small mass M and side L is fixed rigidly onto another cubical block B of the same dimensions and of low modulus of rigidity ɳ such that the lower face of A completely covers the upper face of B. The lower face of B is rigidly held on a horizontal surface. A small force F is applied perpendicular to one of the side faces of A. After the force is withdrawn, block A executes a small oscillation. The time period of oscillation is:
- 2 π √
- 2 π √
- 2 π √
- 2 π √

Now first calculate dimension of each option, you get

- []
- []
- [LT]
- [M]/ [ɳ] [L]

= [M]/ [] [L] = [T]. CORRECT ANSWER!! 🙂

- Substitution – for example, consider:

The sum of n natural numbers (1+2+3+….+n) is:

(a) n (n-1)/2

(b) n (n+1)/2

(c) n (n+2)/3

(d) (n+1) (n-1)

Now if you have studied this and know the answer, well enough. If not, one may sit and start solving it or start proving it. But that will mean losing crucial exam time. Rather, some formulae can be proved or disproved by simple calculations. In this case –

Sum of first two natural numbers should be 3.

Put 2 as the value of n.

Solving (a) you get 1

Solving (b) equation, we get 3 as the answer while (c) equation dissolves into 8/3, which is not a natural number.

Solving (d) gives 3.

Now consider sum of first 3 natural numbers, so take n=3

(b) gives 6

(d) gives 8

So (b) is correct.

Some more tips –

- Do not try to solve and attempt entire paper – this is very important if your paper has negative marking. This again is very different from subjective paper strategy. In subjective paper, you get marks for steps. So even if you dont know an answer correctly, it is good to write whatever you know to maximize marks. But in objective paper, any wrong attempt can lead to negative marking. So if you are not sure about the answer, better to leave it. Try to increase your accuracy – just increasing the number of questions attempted does not mean you will score more.

So best strategy is – attempt the easier questions first to get full marks atleast in those questions. Then come to medium level questions, and leave difficult questions for the last.

However, note that if there is no negative marking for wrong answers in your paper, then choose the closest correct option that you feel is right.

- Read the entire question – Students often think they know what a question is asking before reading it and jump straight to the most logical answer. Read each question thoroughly before reviewing answer options. Pay attention to what the question is asking you – it may be asking you “..which of the following is NOT the right choice..” “..which of the following CANNOT be true..” Do not be in a hurry to answer right away.
- Read every option – Read every answer option prior to choosing a final answer. This may seem like a no brainer to some, but it is a common mistake students make. They read an option, think it is likely to be true, and choose it. If you quickly assume you know the correct answer, without first reading every answer option, you may end up not selecting the right answer. So think carefully about all options before jumping on to a conclusion.
- Manage your time well – For example, if your paper is for 1 hour and has 60 ques, then you need to solve 1 ques/min. Be mindful of time and dont spend too much time solving 1 ques.

But just like always we would urge you to first focus on your preparation, as there is no substitute to good preparation and practice.