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Multiple choice exams made easy


This article dates from my time working with Stephen Stockwell, while tutoring in his journalism course at Griffith University. It explains a system for doing the types of EXAM where you have to answer MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS. Like all great works of art this article has many authors, the main one being Professor Ian Whyte.


You have a system.
You can pass any exam in the first few minutes.
You will not get bogged down on hard questions.
You can convert a reasonable amount of knowledge into a GOOD result.
You can convert a extensive amount of knowledge into an EXCELLENT result.
You will overcome the fear that you are "bad at exams"


Use sample exams or past papers to practise the technique. Research each answer thoroughly, so you are certain of the answers. This is a painless way of studying, and directly related to getting good marks.


Cover the answer choices of each question while you read it.

If you think of the answer straight away, look at the choices, and if one matches the one you thought of, circle it on the exam paper and tick the question to signify it is done.

If you don't think of an answer, uncover the choices, and if one leaps out at you as being the right choice, circle it on the exam paper and tick the question to signify it is done.

If you don't see the answer after (b), move QUICKLY onto the next question. DO NOT SPEND ANY MORE TIME ON THIS QUESTION AT THIS TIME.

Repeat until you have marked all the answers which came to you straight away


Now is the time you go on to get your distinction, high distinction or whatever. You have at least 75 per cent of the exam time left to answering the remaining 25 per cent of difficult or ambiguous questions, and completing any of the other tasks, like the essay.

Start through the question you have not yet answered. You will have picked up information from other questions that will help you, and having read them, your brain will have mulled over the problem and many will become clear. Each time you nut one out, put in the answer on the answer sheet, AND LEAVE IT ALONE.

Pass through all these harder questions just once.

Now you have only a very few questions left that you couldn't answer. Even those last few that you have little or no idea on, by this time you can make a pretty educated guess. Do so.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have just done VERY WELL on the exam! And you have not taken up much time, or been very stressed.

Put the multiple choice question part aside, completely forget about it and do NOT go back and change your answers without BLOODY good reason, if at all. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!


If the exam was all multiple choice, then you can leave in the full knowledge that you have done as well as you possibly could, and if you stayed any longer looking at those questions, then you would only stuff it up.

If the exam has an essay component, you can start this task with fresh energy and confidence.

If there is an essay to write, even a short one, jot down a plan of your essay before you write it.

You can do this in the back of the booklet you are given to write your essay on.

If you have loads of time, you can write a draft in the back of your essay booklet. If not, consider this draft your final version and write it where the essay is meant to go. Even if you write a draft, follow the rules for writing a final version.

Write as naturally as you can, completing a clean, adequate essay. Do NOT REWRITE OR START AGAIN as you go through.

When you finish this, read your essay carefully and make any minor corrections that you need to without spoiling the appearance of your essay.

If it was a draft, then you might want to transcribe it. Do so.

Then you are finished. You can now go to the pub with your friends who were all smart enough to read this article, with complete confidence that you have done as well as you possibly could with no wasted effort.

Sample Questions

TV images made up of pixels are similar to Aboriginal
a) totems
b) dot paintings
c) message sticks
d) Lightning Brothers

Convergence is evident in the way
a) computers are getting less expensive
b) TV ads are getting shorter
c) corporations take over other businesses with different interests
d) technology extends the human body

Digital technology
a) relies on storing bits of binary information
b) is relatively imprecise in modulating forces
c) requires the use of fingers
d) both a and b

Intersubjectivity in communication is produced when the listener
a) is interested in many different subjects
b) interprets the message and changes it as they send it along
c) ignores feedback
d) thinks they are a cyborg

Which of the following is true?
a) Jurassic Park's dinosaurs were hand drawn by Walt Disney
b) there is no violence portrayed on television
c) in 1990 IBM sells Selectric, a sign of the typewriter's passing
d) in 1990 Sony invented a 90 cm TV set using a dirty tablecloth as a screen

Which of the following is false?
a) writing on clay tablets preceded writing on papyrus
b) there was a library In Greece before the time of Julius Caeser
c) playing cards were invented in a Chinese harem
d) Julius Caeser printed the Gutenberg bible

In Shannon and Weaver's model of communication what does not affect the signal as it moves between the transmitter and receiver?
a) tuning
b) intertextuality
c) noise d)
b and c

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started
a) IBM
b) Apple
c) Microsoft
d) Amiga

The first PC (personal computer) was called
a) the Altair
b) the Apple
c) the PC
d) Fred

Concepts such as the mouse, the graphical user interface (GUI) and pull-down menus were developed
a) At Xerox PARC
b) by Bill Gates
c) by Steve Jobs
d) at IBM

The first generation of computers were
a) large, unwieldy machines for military,
government and corporate work.
b) large, unwieldy machines for solving crossword puzzles.
c) small, sleek machines for solving crossword puzzles.
d) laptops

The Turing test is a test for
a) tourism potential
b) artificial intelligence
c) screen resolution
d) spam

Blenchley Park was:
a) a novel by Dickens
b) A green area of London's south west
c) a research installation in the UK during WWII when teams of mathematicians and cryptographers were breaking German secret codes
d) a think-tank that developed concepts such as the mouse, the graphical user interface (GUI)

The "Economy of Ideas" by Barlow is mostly about
a) copyright
b) the share market
c) the commodities market
d) Wall Street

In entering the personal computer market, IBM's Bill Lowe championed the notion of open architecture which involves
a) making computers easy to use
b) designing more stylish computers
c) designing computers like public buildings
d) putting products from other companies together as a package

GUI stands for
a) general urgent interface
b) grand utility interface
c) graphical user interface
d) geographical utilisation interface

Charles Babbage produced an early prototype of the computer which he called the
a) Lovelace Music Machine
b) Difference Engine
d) Computer

a) Hyper Text Modification Language
b) Hyper Text Mark-up Language
c) Holistic Text Mark-up Language
d) Hyper Text Mark-up Linguistics

World Wide Web (WWW) browsers first appeared in
a) the late 70s
b) the early 80s
c) the late 80s
d) the early 90s

Newsgroups are useful for newsgathering on the net because:
a) you don't have to be online to access them
b) the people who post always follow proper netiquette
c) you can always get a FAQ which tells you what to do
d) they contain detailed discussions on specialised subjects

Email attachments can include:
a) text files and images, but not animation, video, worksheets or programs
b) text files, images, animation and video, but not worksheets or programs
c) text files, images, animation, video and worksheets but not programs
d) text files, images, animation, video, worksheets and programs

E-mail sends documents
a) from one sender to one receiver
b) from one sender to multiple receivers
c) a and b
d) encrypted in a code than can only be read by personal computers

The RAND corporation believed the Internet could survive a nuclear war because:
a) it had no central control
b) it was protected by fall out shelters
c) it didn't use wires
d) it was non-biological, therefore unaffected by radiation

CMC is an abbreviation for
a) cyan-magenta-colour (printing)
b) computer-mediated communications
c) computer-manipulated communications
d) creative mind channelling

The Screen age
a) is still emerging
b) will be followed by the literary age and the rationality of scientific positivism
c) is unlikely to alter the economy of the planet
d) is not very significant in human history

The Screen Age really began with
a) the invention of the camera
b) the advent of cinema
c) the invention of television
d) the invention of the computer

The telephone's point-to-point system of transmission was a forerunner of today's:
a) am/fm radio
b) community television
c) morse code
d) the Internet

The first full-length feature movie was produced in
a) Australia
b) England
c) The United States
d) France

Which of the following is false
a) public broadcasters are funded by government or public subscription
b) commercial broadcasters are funded by advertising
c) cable TV is free to air
d) the Internet has made TV more interactive

Which of the following are not elements of Audio-Visual Language
a) music in soundtracks
b) sound effects
c) email attachments
d) zooming in and zooming out

The elements of multi media are:
a) video, animation, interactivity
b) sound, video, animation, interactivity
c) graphics, sound, video, animation, interactivity
d) text, graphics, sound, video, animation, interactivity

One of the earliest multimedia applications was
a) classic greek theatre
b) the video arcade game
c) the CD-ROM
d) the internet

Virtual Reality gives participants the feeling of
a) being immersed in a mathematical model
b) losing their sense of vision
c) losing their sense of touch
d) being immersed in the simulated world.

Which of the following is false?
a) Virtual reality works by engaging the senses through various hardware including goggles, headphones, gloves and body suits to the exclusion of the real world
b) VR represents a convergence of techniques used in simulation, animation and computer games.
c) Binocular Omni Orientation Monitor (BOOM) with two miniature LCD screens is an example of a Head Mounted Display (HMD)
d) The word resolution is commonly used to denote the total number of lines of code that can be written in one day by a computer programmer.

Problems with VR include:
a) Cartoon-like graphics which limit the involvement of the user.
b) The lag time means that the virtual environment is often slow to react to human input
c) a, b and d
d) The number of senses involved is limited to vision and sound (no touch, taste or smell).

Technologies emerging alongside the Internet and multimedia realise their full potential when they:
a) make the world a better place
b) utilise the capacity of computers to process massive amounts of data
c) utilise the interactive features of relational databases
d) make the previous technological generation obsolete

Virtual Agents (or Knowbots) are:
a) people who will post to newsgroups for you for a fee
b) programs that search the Net for information
c) search engines
d) experienced net users who know everything

Avatars are
a) Spanish sailors
b) Web personas
c) clay models of yourself
d) always a perfect likeness of you

Which of the following is false?
a) Interactive TV with set top boxes has been successfully introduced in most countries.
b) Holography produces 2-dimensional images using laser beams.
c) Videoconferencing comines audio, video and communications networking technology.
d) Telepresencing is a combination of videoconferencing and virtual reality

Which of the following is not about time travel
a) HG Wells The Time Machine
b) Dr Who
c) Back to the Future
d) Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire
e) Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
f) Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
g) Terminator

It is reasonably speculated that in Black Holes
a) time goes faster than it does outside
b) time is halted
c) time goes backwards
d) people can pass through to other universes

Early forms of communication technology were mostly characterised by:
a) one source and many receivers
b) digital technology
c) an absence of media empires
d) access by all to the means of production

The growth of the internet
a) has been slow but steady
b) has been extremely rapid
c) has stopped
d) will double every three months forever

Which of these discussions/strategies are part of the Second Media Age:
a) equity of access
c) intellectual property
d) freedom of speech
e) all of the above

Virtual reality
a) duplicates but does not warp reality
b) does not transcend reality
c) can alter the ways in which you construct yourself as a person
d) will have no effect on society

Recreating democracy
Fukuyama believed that
a) democracy has become the dominant form of government
b) democracy will be followed by a period of fuedalism
c) most people were opposed to democracy
d) forms of human government would keep evolving

a) has very complex underpinnings that no-one can understand
b) has simple definitions that are hard to quantify
c) prevents freedom of speech
d) is the rule of the minority

The number of Australiam adults who express an interest in politics is
a) nearly twice the number who do so in the United States
b) the same number who do so in the United States
c) ten times the number who do so in the United States
d) a tenth the number who do so in the United States

The way democracy is practiced is
a) fixed in one set of documents and rules
b) fixed and unresponsive to change
c) the same everywhere
d) malleable and responsive to change

It is argued that participation in demcracy has been most limited by
a) compulsory voting
b) the internet
c) local area networks
d) the mass media

Mark Posters claims that we are presently witnessing the advent of
a) the first media age
b) the second media age
c) the third media age
d) the forth media age

Mark Posters argues that
a) the internet will produce a new politics based on the communication of many to many
b) the internet will never produce a new politics based on the communication of many to many
c) the internet will produce a new politics based on the communication of few to many
d) the internet will produce a new politics based on the communication of many to few

a) is easy to enforce on the internet
b) is virtually impossible to enforce on the internet
c) has successfully been enforced nearly everywhere on the internet
d) has resulted in the removal of most pornography

Free speech
a) is a key part of democracy
b) is something common in fascist regimes
c) is about talking loosely
d) means you can speak nonsense and people will understand you

Nomads and stories
The global information economy means people will become, in some ways
a) more nomadic
b) more passive
c) forced to live in cars
d) more apathetic

In the future it will become possible
a) to convert sea water to plastics and protein through nanotechnology
b) travel in time by means of computer enlarged wormholes
c) live in space on circulating wheels that have their own gravity by means of a gravitron generator
d) know more about someone on the other side of the planet that you do about the people who live next door

What are the rules of nomadic societies?
a) take what you need and leave the rest, and take out a second mortgage
b) take as much as you can, have rigid rules, and invent new stories
c) take what you need, exercise a lot, and nurture your children
d) take what you need and leave the rest, stay flexible, nurture the stories

It is argued that MEMES
a) are the mirror image of genes
b) are the average points in all statistical inquiries
c) are a baseball team from Idaho
d) carry social ideas

In Mythology, the bringers of new technology
a) are rewarded with a life of luxury
b) often get punished by the gods
c) have to say sorry and take it back again
d) always become the kings and queens

A recurring parable for the scientific age is that
a) Technological advancement is free
b) Technological advancement is free for the first 30 days
c) Technological advancement is shareware
d) Technological advancement comes at a price

There is a common thread to the following items. What is it? The Republic, New Christianity, Erehwon, News from Nowhere
a) they represent bad places
b) a tone of pessimism
c) utopian dreams
c) necrotic infections

Brave New World and 1984 are 20th century books. The common thread in these items is):
a) they represent bad places
b) a tone of optimism
c) utopian dreams
c) necrotic infections

Bladerunner discusses
a) electric sheep
b) Phillip K Dick
c) the dividing line between humans and machines
d) the dividing line between replicants and machines

A cyborg is:
a) a musical score
b) an attempt to process data more effectively
c) part organic, part machine
d) an attempt to process data more quickly

A lot of the work being done to develop cyborgs
a) on the internet
b) in commercial TV
c) over local area networks
d) within the space program

Was Roy more human than Deckard?
a) Yes
b) No
c) Maybe

The following all have a common thread. What is it? Dracula, The Exorcist, Midwich Cuckoo, Species,
a) space invaders
b) mistaken identity
c) spies
d) identity invaders

The Archigram project designed a future city with
a) inflatable buildings and buildings on rails
b) some very boring architecture
c) nude sunbathing areas on every building
d) a small toilet block in South West London