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Recognition, Not Recall

by Chris O'Leary  |  
September 25, 2001

Let me ask you a question.

When you were in college, would you rather that your final exam for a class was...

A. An Essay Test B. A Multiple Choice Test

If you are like most people, you would prefer to take a multiple choice test. If I asked you why, your answer would be something like...

- "Because you know the answer is already out there. All you have to do is figure out which one it is." - "It's easier. There's not a lot of thinking involved in a multiple choice test. You don't have to know the answer, you just have to recognize it." - "You don't have to come up with the answer."

Here's another question.

How do you increase the difficulty of a multiple choice test?

Well, there are two things that you can do.

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Chris O'Leary ( is an eBusiness strategist for Cambridge Technology Partners (

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