Avoid Confusion in Multiple Choice Questions

When authoring Multiple Choice Questions, it is sometimes difficult to make the content as understandable and focused as required by the student. Here are some tips to help you make your question aim clear to the student sitting the test.
  • Focus on presenting one problem or idea in that question and do not allow it to be ambiguous.
  • Keep the language as simple as you can and take into account the reading skill of the students undertaking the exam. 
  • Attempt to include a verb in the stem of the question/opening statement to ensure a problem is presented.
  • Write each question on its own merit.          
  • Unless you have presented a statement and are asking a series of questions based on this, do not allow the answer to a standalone question to be dependent on the answer of a previous question.
  • Avoid the temptation of including humour in the question as this can act as a distraction from the purpose of the question.

Note: The purpose of these articles is to provide you with general advice in the fields of assessment and testing. These articles are not intended to replace any regulations or instructions provided by your organisation, but may be used in conjunction with these materials to support the assessment process.

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For information about setting up a Multiple Choice Question, visit the Item Authoring section of the Surpass online Help.

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