Monday, 9 July 2012


By Teacher Isaac Gitogo

Dear candidate,
Let me start by wishing you success in the forthcoming 2012 KCPE Examination. You are capable of performing well enough to enable you to be admitted in the secondary school of your choice. This is possible if the following is given serious consideration by you as a candidate as well as your teachers.

First, it is important that you cover the syllabus well before the time of examination. Most teachers ensure that this is done. As such you may not need to worry much about this. However should you find that your class is lagging behind in any given subject, the best you can do is to read ahead. Seek assistance of your friends in different classes or schools who may have already covered what you are reading. Your teacher may also be of great help. Most teachers go out of their way to assist pupils when approached politely.

 Covering the syllabus is not enough though, you need to read and understand what has been covered in class. Do not read to memorize what has been learnt. This is called cramming. The reason is that even if you deed, which is not very possible, you would   be likely to get only half of the questions correct. This is because KCPE Examination is set by experts who seek to find out whether candidates understand what they have learnt not whether they can recall what they have read or heard from their teachers. A good number of questions therefore will require you to apply the information you have learnt in new situations. This is only possible if you understand what you have learnt.

Practice on Sample KCPE Examination Test
Once the above has been done, the next step is to practice on sample KCPE Examination tests. There are many commercial tests available from bookshops, however, before you buy one, seek the opinion of your teacher or somebody with a good knowledge of primary school education syllabus. This is the only way you can pick an examination that may be of help to you. With a good examination at hand, you need to choose an appropriate time to do the test. The best time is after you have done some revision in any subject of your choice.

It is very important for you to do the test under conditions that are as similar to the real KCPE examination as possible. Choose a time when you are relaxed and have no other pressing things such as assignments to do. Also find a quiet place where you are not likely to be disturbed before you finish the test. Inform your parents or any other person who may be likely to interrupt you on what you intent to do in advance. Ensure you have a watch to time yourself. Do not keep looking at your watch every time now and then though. The best way would be to do half the work and find out how much time you have taken. You can then adjust your pace accordingly.

 Answering Multiple Choice Questions
Before you begin doing the examination, ensure you enter all the information regarding your identity as required.  This will include your name, school name, code and your index number.  If you are so eager to start that you forget to enter your name and index number in the real KCPE Examination, you will not get results
Read any instructions given carefully and ensure you understand them before you start to answering the questions.
.  Read every question quickly but carefully. Read the question more than once and be sure that you understand the question before choosing the correct answer. Underlining the key words in the question may help in understanding exactly what is required of you.  Pay particular attention to questions that indicate that some choices may be partly correct in which case you are required to choose the most corrent answer.  Differentiate such questions from those that require you to choose an answer that is not correct among the choices given.  One is likely to choose the wrong answer despite knowing the correct one if you answer the questions in a hurry without understanding the question well. Remember that some choices may be correct statements in themselves, but not when joined to the question being asked.
Start with question you are sure of the answer.
Begin by answering those questions you are 100% certain of the answer.  If you cannot answer a question within a minute or less, skip it and plan to come to it later.  However mark it so that you can easily identify it from those that you have already answered. You should not get worried if you find that there are some questions you are unable to come up with. An answer of such questions may occur to you simply as a result of being more relaxed after having answered other questions.  At other times, later questions may trigger something in your thinking that will enable you remember the answer of an earlier question you were not sure of.
 Always remember that well set examinations have questions of varying difficulty.  A few may seem just too simple.  Take them at face value and appreciate the easy mark rather than trying to find a trick behind them.   Remember that some questions that may appear easy to you may appear difficult to others.  A few questions may seem to be really demanding.  See them as a challenge, attempt them but do not let them consume more than their share of your time.

Have a second look at the challenging questions
After going through the whole fifty questions or ninety for Social Studies go back to the beginning and have another look at the questions you had left un-answered.  Answer those that you are reasonably sure of the answer without spending too much time on one question.  Finally study the remaining questions and attempt to answer them.  If you are unable to come up with the correct answer, then guess but do not leave any question not answered.
If you must guess, do so from a small number
 If you must guess, then do so from among a small number of choices as possible.  This can be done by eliminating the choices that you know are clearly know are wrong.
Approaches of answering multiple choice questions
This approach of answering multiple-choice questions is called elimination method.  It involves looking for clearly wrong answers and cross/canceling them out.  This is followed by making a careful selection among the two or three remaining alternatives. When using this approach, chances of arriving at the correct answer can further be improved by reading the question with each of the remaining choices separately.  Take advantage of the correct sound or flow that correct answer usually produces. Alternatively, read the question and option A as a true –false question and decide whether it is a true or false statement. Then do the same with thing for the question and choices B, C, and D. Choose the alternative that is true or false depending on what is asked.
It is of utmost importance to bear in mind that when confronted with a true/false question, a statement must be 100% true.  If one word in the statement is not true, then the whole statement is false. A true/false statement assumes the idea that “This is always true”.  True/false statements that provide reasons are therefore more likely to be false because there may be other reasons or other addition ones.  Such reasoning can be used to eliminate a choice when one is in doubt. This should however not be treated as a first had rule as there may be exceptions.
Another approach of answering multiple choice questions is the answer –search method. It involves reading the question and trying to answer it in the mind without at the choices. This can be done by treating the question as   filling-in question. When you come up with the answer, search for it among the choices given. If you see it, then choose it but make sure that none of the other choices is a better answer. The answer search method relies heavily on one’s recognition memory which can be very impressive.  However, if one is tense, there is interference with recognition memory well, a candidate has to be fairly relaxed and distant from the questions and wait for the correct answer to “jump out” at them. Once you decide on an answer, stick to it. Whatever method you use, once you decide on an answer, stick to it.  Change answers only if you are sure it is clearly wrong.  More than often one changes from the correct answer to the wrong one.
               There is no strategy that is better than the other.  The best way to approach multiple choice questions is to choose the method that is more comfortable with your natural way of doing things.  To impose a new foreign approach that do not agree with already well established approaches to examination writing can cause problems.  To come up with a strategy that works for you, look for books and try the different strategies to see which best works for you to gain confidence and enable you enter the examination room relaxed.  This will enable one to focus on the questions rather than the strategy.
   Some candidates prefer to mark the correct answer on the question paper and then transfer them to the answer sheet later.  The reasoning is that if you try to do several things at the same time, you increase the probability of making a mistake.  Saving the relatively easy job of marking the correct answer on the answer sheet until the last step reduces the probability of making silly errors.  Other candidates would prefer to mark the correct answer directly on the answer sheet.  Choose the method that is most comfortable with you. Make sure you fill the appropriate eclipse carefully in pencil.  The invigilator will probably never take a close look at your answer sheet.  So if you fail to fill in the eclipses completely or if you make stray marks, only the computer will notice and you will be penalized.  Be sure to erase any accidental marks outside the required spaces completely and you keep the answer sheet clean
Each time you do a test whether in school or on your own, take note of the questions you have failed. In which topics are these questions you have failed? If you find that there is a specific topic you are failing to score as expected in most of the tests you attempt, then know you have to seek help in that specific area.

Quality KCPE trial tests are available at

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