Question checklist (multiple choice questions)

Poorly written multiple choice questions are not only useless, but they can also actually confuse students and even misinform. In some instances, although the question is well written, it concerns a topic that is so esoteric as to be a waste of time. So before you even begin to write multiple choice questions ask yourself the following most important questions:

  • Is the knowledge being tested important?

Once you have written a question about a worthwhile topic, it is worth running through the following checklist to ensure that your question is appropriate. 

  • stem and lead-in
    • can it be shortened?
    • is it linear?
    • ideally, does it pass the cover test?
    • is the lead-in clear?
    • does it follow grammatically into all alternatives?
    • can you include repeating words from the answers?
    • have you avoided acronyms?
  • images
    • are the images clear and show the abnormality?
    • is the image needed to answer the question?
  • alternatives
    • are they plausible?
    • is one answer clearly the only right one?
    • can they be shortened?
    • are they testing the same topic (homogeneous)?
    • is there clueing (repeated words, etc)?
    • are measurements consistent and ranked low to high?
    • have you avoided acronyms?

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