Have you have ever considered the advantages and disadvantages of using a multiple choice answer sheet with your child?
Often children taking an 11+ or 13+ entrance exam will have to use a separate multiple choice answer sheet. This is certainly advantageous for children who prefer having the options available and if used correctly, familiarity in using a separate answer sheet can make the difference between a pass or a fail.
Introducing the multiple choice answer sheet early in a child’s exam preparation helps them become familiar with the transferring of answers. Telling your child that the multiple choice answer sheet is their best friend in an exam situation is suggested, because the answers are always on the sheet somewhere!
It is important to complete all the required details at the top of a multiple choice answer sheet (sometimes children forget to write their surname or their date of birth). This can cause problems for the invigilators and exam boards. However, if a child always completes these formalities, this will help it become a routine.
In many assessments children will have a separate multiple choice answer sheet to the question paper and the first very obvious point is ensuring children keep their answer sheet close to their question paper. It is amazing how many seconds can be wasted by having them a long distance apart.
The other really vital aspect of using the multiple choice answer sheet is how the answers should be demarcated. The boxes are often quite small (perhaps deliberately!) and children must use the correct format. The 11+ exams require a horizontal line to be placed next to the correct letter, sentence, number or word. Discouraging shading, ticking or circling is important as the papers are marked by an optical reader and it will pick up the marks made on the sheet.
In the examinations children are often putting the wrong answers and this can be for a number of reasons.
- The answer does not correlate with the question on the sheet (they are no longer in question and answer order).
- The child has marked two answers rather than one. Important the child reads the rubric on the question paper. An example of this could relate to the odd one out or odd two out question type, where it is easy to become confused.
- Have placed their answers in a wrong section.
- Children forgetting to turn over their multiple choice answer sheet and not realising a section existed on another page.
How can we avoid the above points happening?
Encouraging children to circle any questions on the question paper that they have left out is advisable, to hopefully avoid missing any questions on the multiple choice sheet. This strategy would be preferable on the multiple choice answer sheet, but obviously only the answer can be recorded.
In the CEM tests you often have answers which can range from A-H (or beyond). For instance in the reshuffled sentences in verbal reasoning there might be more than one answer line per question, so we suggest selecting the answers on the question sheet first. This allows the child to go back and double check if they have come out of ‘question to answer’ order.
The maths sections in some exams have a peculiar recording system and the answer must be recorded as a number in the top boxes and in the correct place value columns. Listening to the instructions before a test or section starts is also imperative.
In summary it is definitely worth introducing the multiple choice answer sheet early in your child’s preparation and understanding how to correctly demarcate your answers. children must use the sheet to their advantage and it is certainly nothing to be feared!
Chris Pearse, Teachitright and author of many of the titles in Galore Park’s new 11+ and pre-test Verbal Reasoning range.