How To Write Effective Test Questions

  • Prep Work

  • Define the objective(s) of the test.

  • Determine the time limit and length of the test.

  • Choose a test format.

    See description
  • Multiple choice

  • Fill in the blank

  • True or False

  • Open ended/short answer

  • Write questions in a direct question format, rather than an incomplete statement.

  • Multiple Choice

  • Ensure answer options are similar in format and structure and that no answer choice stands out in length.

  • Provide 3-5 choices for each question.

  • Keep all of the above\' and \'none of the above\' answers to a minimum.

  • Ensure answer options (A, B, C, D) are distributed randomly and do not follow a pattern.

  • Include a variety of questions that test knowledge, application, comprehension, analysis and evaluation.

  • True or False

  • Make sure the statement is either 100% true or false so there is no debate on the correct answer.

  • Avoid words such as “always” or “never” as they can often be used to trick students. Be sure to focus on only one idea or piece of information per question.

  • Randomize the distribution of the questions so there is no apparent pattern in the answers.

  • Fill in the Blank

  • Write instructions for each section.

  • Add two or fewer blanks to a question.

  • Format questions so the blanks are close to the end of the statement.

  • Be sure that there is only one clear correct answer to the question.

  • Be sure each blank only requires a one or two-word answer.

  • Open Ended/Short Answer

  • Hone in on a specific detail, rather than asking for general information or thoughts.

  • If the prompt is longer, include one main topic with several follow-up questions or points within the prompt so students have guidance on how to expand on the topic.

  • Include comprehension questions that start with "Explain the following…"

  • How To Create A Free Test Online with Help Teaching

  • Create a free account by visiting

  • Select Make a Free Test, and sign up for an account.

This checklist was created by helpteaching

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