The term negative marking is used in reference to the process of marking an answer with a score of negative 1 when they make a mistake. Negative marking is generally done in entrance exams where the marking system is such that every correct answer gets 4 marks and every wrong answer would get a negative 1. The idea behind it is to make the competition tighter and add an extra element of difficulty to it so that only people who were completely sure of the answer would mark an answer. The introduction of negative marking in exams made guesswork as a means of scoring marks in multiple-choice question-based exams practically dangerous.
Making guesswork so difficult has a very positive outcome in terms of the exam’s overall effectiveness – it makes sure that undeserving students do not get their way into a position that is meant for deserving meritorious students. Making entrance exams so tough is also essential because it makes the exam all the more authentic and students do not slack if they are preparing for it seriously. They will need to work genuinely and not rely on anything other than pure intellect to make their decisions.
However, negative marking can have its downsides too. A high-risk factor in an exam can make the students feel intimidated and hence adversely affect their mental state. This is the reason why a right answer has 4 marks and the wrong answer is only negative 1 – to make sure that the risk factor is kept at 25% instead of 50%. This not only helps the students feel more confident but also makes sure that they can focus on their studies than just making the answers right.