Fantastic Facts and Where to Find Them

Written by B.o.B.


Hello my fellow enthusiasts! If you are as interested in knowledge as I am, then you’re in the right place 😉

Yes, this column will be talking about academic and scholarly knowledge, however, it will be presented in a way that everyone will understand (not like how some teachers explain things). It won’t just be understandable but will genuinely be interesting and spark a ‘wow I didn’t know this’-effect. The brain facts column is here to ‘pep-up’ boring academic information and make them exciting, fun but also understandable.

Enough with the introduction; let me present you our first topic: (drum roll)

Exam types and Memory / Multiple Choice Exams help you remember information easier

Memory retrieval cues and exam types 

Did you know that MC exams can actually help you perform better than open question exams?

This is because multiple choice exams initiate more cues to retrieve memory. What this exactly means will be explained in the following:

Memory is a broad topic which is why I will be making it nice and easy. 

  • Memory entails different steps during which information is processed. The main processes are Short Term Memory (STM) & Long Term Memory (LTM)
  • Most of us have heard of Short-term memory before, which is basically when we try to consciously retain information. This only lasts for a short while if the information is not rehearsed.
  • Long-term memory, therefore, handles the transforming of information into long-term stored memories but also the retrieval of this stored information.
  • Based on this, there have been clear signs on how to improve but also impair memory storage and retrieval.

Specifically, when talking about exams, retrieving memory can be supported. Memory retrieval is more successful if certain components are present, these components are known as ‘cues’.  Thus, a retrieval cue is most effective when it matches the location and the way the information was first stored as a memory. So, if one were to learn words  by heart in their bedroom and then try to retrieve them again later, the retrieval would be easier if that person was in their bedroom since the retrieval would be in the same environment as the memory when it was first stored. The same goes for exams. 

It was found that Multiple Choice exams initiate more cues than open question exams. This makes sense since MC exams offer more impulses of remembering information in relation to the exam question, whereas, in open question exams only the question itself is offered and the effort of remembering relies solely on the person. Thus, the MC exam (the questions and multiple answer possibilities) offers an environment with more similarities of when one first stored their memory of the specific information for that test.    

The struggle is real… keep calm and struggle on <3

Yours truly, B.o.B

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