Choose the best answer:
1. Which do you prefer, multiple choice tests or written tests?
a. Multiple choice, because you always have at least a 20% chance.
b. Multiple choice, because they’re way easier for professors to grade.
c. Written, because they give you the opportunity to regurgitate an entire semester’s worth of information (or one outline) in three hours.
d. Written, because if you don’t know the answer you can write something tangential and hope for a few pity points.
e. A and B only.
f. All of the above.
g. All of the above, but not C.
h. None of the above.
Sorry if that question was worded poorly; I’m sure you did just fine.
Yesterday, an item on PrawfsBlawg asked about the pros on cons of multiple choice law school exams. It ended up being a pretty polarizing question.
Some of the commenters focused on the nature of the material. Those who favored multiple choice questions said that many questions of law are more discrete and are better suited for multiple choice exams, while others argued that the law is inherently gray and reasoned answers should be required.
Other commenters focused on the practice of law. Those who favored written tests argued that writing well under pressure is an important skill for practicing law; others argued that being able to make quick decisions on points of law is also important.
The multiple choice/written test debate is about as polarizing in real life as it was on Prawfsblawg. I know people who say they always do horribly on multiple choice tests (here are some tips) and don’t think they’re fair, and others who love them.
Personally, I prefer multiple choice tests. For me, having the correct answers on the page makes having a good foundational understanding of the subject matter more important and deemphasizes memorization, which isn’t really my thing.
I’m glad to see that professors do think about this stuff. And if you’re wondering how a multiple choice question should be worded, don’t use mine as an example, check this out.