You’ve probably had this experience before. You look at the first page of a test, see it’s all multiple choice, and have one of two reactions: relief, or dread. For me, it’s always dread.
Multiple choice purposefully makes things confusing and is designed to trip up the test taker. It’s frustrating, to study hard and to the best of my ability, and then get a bad grade simply because I butchered the multiple choice section by overthinking. This has happened to me on numerous occasions, and I’d be willing to bet that it has happened to the majority of students at Covenant at one time or another.
Multiple choice questions are easier for teachers and professors to write and presumably, easier for students to answer. But here’s the problem: multiple choice does not assess what we have learned in class. All it assesses is how well we can take a test. It does not challenge our opinions or convictions, it challenges our ability to memorize.
The problem is that we start to base our identity off of the grades we get on these multiple choice tests. Maybe you feel that this isn’t you, or that it doesn't really matter all that much. But it does. It matters because, no matter how strong or confident you are, seeing that C or D at the top of that page plants a lie in your mind. It whispers, “You’re a failure. You’ll never be good enough. You’re stupid.” Doth my lips protest too much? Try this one.
Some students think multiple choice tests are an easy A. Some teachers and professors think they’re saving time in writing multiple choice instead of essay questions, time they could be using for something else. But here’s what this all communicates: take the easy way out. Don’t do things if they’re hard. Only study the material to take the test, don’t study to learn.
We are becoming the generation who only does what’s easy. We are becoming the generation that takes shortcuts. And our teachers and professors are encouraging this. But let me tell you something. Jesus didn’t take shortcuts. I know, I know, you’re sitting there thinking, “Okay yeah, whatever Ellie. We all know that. But multiple choice is so minuscule compared to that, why does it even matter?”
It matters because when Jesus died on the cross, he did the hardest thing imaginable. He had all the power in the world to just snap his fingers and make us holy and righteous like him. He didn’t have to go through all of the heart wrenching and body mutilation. But he did it anyway. Why? Because he loves us.
If Jesus didn’t take the easy way out when it came to life or death for us, why are we taking the easy way out on something that seems so small but really has exponential consequences? While multiple choice seems like a minute thing, something that would be easy to just let slide, it’s not. It is a building block for shortcuts, a road map to the easy way out. This is not the life we — students and professors — are called to live. We are not called to the shortcuts. We are called to do hard things, because we belong to Christ, and that is what he did for us.