Writing Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple Choice Exam Questions are an effective measure of a student’s level of knowledge and cognitive skill when used in formative or summative assessments.

Multiple choice questions: 

  •  Provide accurate and precise scores
  •  Can be marked easily due to there being set correct answers, reducing the risk of bias or subjective viewpoints
  •  Are generally quicker to complete than some other question types

 When creating content in Surpass, a multiple choice question can be simply created using the multiple choice question tool, however, the success of a multiple choice question is highly reliant on the quality of the question in regards to its content, structure and intended learning outcome. 

Here are some tips to guide you in writing effective multiple choice assessment questions: 

  •  Know Your Learning Objectives

Be aware of which learning objective you wish to assess and then tailor the question to reflect that particular learning objectives

  •  Use Real Life Examples

Consider using Memory Aid or scenario driven questions 

  •  Avoid Confusion and Question Misinterpretation
Focus on presenting one problem or idea in that question and do not allow it to be ambiguous.

  •   Bring Uniformity into your Questions
Standardise your questions and make them uniform in content, form and structure

  •    Use Effective Distractors
Choose plausible and reasonable distractors, whilst drawing on common mistakes a student might make.


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 Multiple Choice section of the Surpass online Help.

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