The system of multiple choice questions seems to be quite objective and reliable one, but it still has some drawbacks. The most serious disadvantage is that not all spheres of knowledge can be assessed in such a way. Multiple choice testing is suitable for certain defined skills while problem-solving ones can hardly be assessed with it. However, sometimes multiple choice tests are quite often used for such purposes because they allow assessing a large number of students at a time.
However objective such kind of test may seem, some kind of ambiguity is still possible. The author may misinterpret an item and thus the “correct” answer may be a really strange one. There is another problem with choosing the correct answer. Multiple choice tests do not require any argumentation and that’s why test-takers often try to guess the right answer. But before trying to guess, you should think twice! Will you be proud of such a mark? I doubt! Multiple choice tests are designed to be objective, so help them with that! Do not cheat and increase their reliability!
Another problem with such system of assessment is that you won’t get a credit for a partially correct answer. For example, in all those kinds of written tests you can demonstrate that you have the general idea on the subject which will give you partial credit. But in the case with multiple choice tests you won’t be assessed for your partial knowing of the subject. Only the exact answer will bring you a point.
It is clear that all the questions formed ambiguously can make any test-taker confused. It is an accepted fact that there must be just one possible answer for each question. If you think logically, all the other variants will seem to be some way wrong. However, some authors do not know this and may want their students to find several answers for each issue. Well, this is the problem of untrained test developers and not of the system as a whole, but still it exists.
Some critics think that multiple choice tests have turned knowledge into a kind of puzzle or a crossword and do not let assess students’ knowledge perfectly well. Others say that with these tests students should no longer prove their own point of view. However, despite all the criticism multiple choice tests are still popular because they are truly reliable and effective.