All Collections
Card Design
Why doesn’t RemNote offer multiple-choice flashcards?
Why doesn’t RemNote offer multiple-choice flashcards?

Slightly reframing multiple-choice questions yields flashcards that are far more efficient and useful.

Soren Bjornstad avatar
Written by Soren Bjornstad
Updated over a week ago

Multiple-choice questions, where a number of possible answers are presented, only one of which is correct, are a popular way of writing exam questions. As such, we're often asked why RemNote doesn't offer a built-in feature to create flashcards that present multiple choices as an answer.

Consider first why multiple-choice questions are so common on exams. They're easy to grade, for one. They also do a great job at assessing whether you've learned the material well enough to recognize the right answer and avoid common pitfalls in thinking (represented by well-chosen incorrect answers). But while this format does a good job at assessing whether you've learned some material, it does a poor job at teaching you the material. If you memorize the answers to multiple-choice questions using flashcards, you will certainly have learned only how to pick out the correct item from that list of possible answers, but there's no guarantee you will have actually gained a durable understanding of the material.

Practicing the same multiple-choice questions repeatedly risks causing pattern matching, in which you inadvertently memorize the answer to a flashcard in a way that relies on the appearance or wording of the question rather than the actual content you want to learn. If the wrong choices on your exam are different than the ones you study with, or even just look different, you might end up unable to remember the answer!

Additionally, the more context is provided on a question, the less likely you are to be able to apply the knowledge represented by the question in a different context. If you're asked to talk about the material on your flashcards in an essay, for instance, chances are you'll have a harder time writing about the relevant concepts if you learned them using multiple-choice flashcards than if you learned them with other types of flashcards.

As a result, while you might pass your exam using multiple-choice flashcards if you studied from a question bank or a set of multiple-choice questions that closely approximate what will be on your actual exam, the flashcards will quickly become stale and irrelevant after the exam. With only a little bit more care, you can instead create excellent flashcards that will not only give you a better shot at performing well on your exam, but also remain easy to answer, useful, and relevant for as long as you want to know the information.


Let's look at a typical multiple-choice question and explore how we can create better flashcards for it. Here's a simple question:

Which of the following elements is often used to fill party balloons?

A: Hydrogen

B: Helium

C: Xenon

D: Iron

The simplest way to rephrase this is to simply remove the choices:

Q: Which element is often used to fill party balloons?

A: Helium.

This might be all you need to do. It's better than the multiple-choice version, and it's even easier to create – you don't have to type or reformat the wrong answer choices. However, right now this is still a little bit verbose. It also doesn't explain why helium is used here; even if you don't have a question about that on your upcoming exam, understanding the reason why will make a fact much easier to remember!

We can create a more complete and concise version using the Concept-Descriptor Framework:

Did this answer your question?