Essay versus multiple-choice: A perspective from the undergraduate student point of view with its implications for examination

Chandni Gupta, Anuj Jain, Antony Sylvan D'Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Objective: Essay and multiple-choice questions are both used to evaluate the mastery of academic courses. Each has their unique advantages as well as limitations. Multiple-choice tests provide an inexpensive means of evaluating the understanding of facts and concepts across an extensive range of topics whereas essay questions evaluate the organizational and productive skills in a more restricted content area. So, the aim of our study is to assess which types of questions are more effective in testing the cognitive skills from the point of view of undergraduate medical students. Methods: The study is conducted on 250 undergraduate students who were admitted to the 1st year program at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal. A preformed proforma containing few questions regarding essay and multiple choice questions is given to them to fill. The results are analyzed using simple statistics methods. Results: The 59.5% students prefer multiple choice questions (MCQs) over essay question. 20.8% don't prefer MCQs and 19.5% were neutral. 24.1% prefer essay questions over MCQs. 46.2% don't prefer essay questions and 29.5% were neutral. Cocnlusion: From the results of our study it is evident that even students think that both types of questions should be there for their assessment because each type of questions has their advantages and disadvantages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-10
Number of pages3
JournalGazi Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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