How to write online examination

Creating good exam question may be more difficult than you think. Participants can easily misinterpret your questions. These tips and tricks will help you to create better questions with only a few alterations. More good worded questions will lead to better results. 

Tips and tricks to create good exam questions

With only a few tips, you will create better questions. Better questions lead to better results :)

Avoid term like “always” and “never”

These terms are more often the incorrect options. And yes, participants do know this trick. You don’t want to test if participants know these tricks. Instead you want to test their knowledge, of course.

Avoid double negatives

“Which of the following answers are NOT incorrect?” After reading this question three times, you finally understand what the meaning is of the question. Instead, you can also ask “Which of the following answers are correct?” It’s the same meaning, but much easier to understand!

State the question positively instead of negatively

A negatively worded question challenges even the intelligent readers to understand the question. By avoiding this, you erase the amount of stress. Less confusing and less stress :)

Place most words in question

Ensure most words are in the question. The answer options can be shorter and will make participants less confusing and more understandable.

Try to keep the answer choices at the same length

Often the longest answer option is the right one. Ensure that all your answer options have almost the same length.

Give four or five answer options

Experts recommend to give four or five answer options. And you do what experts say, right?

Avoid using “none of the above” or “all of the above”

It’s very unlikely that the answer “none of the above” or “all of the above” is the right answer. But if you know that two answers are right (out of four) and you doubt if the other one is right, the answer must be “all of the above”. Now it’s just a game of logical thinking.

Test more than just recall

Recall is the most easiest knowledge to ask questions about. Try to come up with questions that will challenge your participants. Test more than just facts.

Differences between creating online examination and on paper

The most obvious difference is, of course, that one happens on a device and the other one on paper. But what does that exactly contain? With online questions there are a lot more options to create different kinds of questions. For example it’s not possible to add a video on a paper exam. Furthermore, you can randomize the questions and the answers of the questions with online examination. Finally, you have the opportunity to alter the questions at the very last moment with online examination. There are so much more options in creating online examination. What’s keeping you away to try it out yourself?

Read more about how to give online examination.

Useful sources

K-state
Vanderbilt University

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