Three Quick Tips for Writing Effective Multiple-Choice Questions

Here are three tried-and-true tips to keep in mind when you’re writing your multiple-choice questions:

1. Opt for the question format over the incomplete-statement format.

Less Effective: The capital of Ohio is ______.

More Effective: What is the capital of Ohio?

2. Frame your questions in a real-life context to encourage higher-order thinking.

Less Effective: Which of the following items is categorized as a fruit?
a. Carrot
b. Asparagus
c. Kale
d. Tomato
e. Cabbage

More Effective: John had a snack of two asparagus shoots, a tomato, some cabbage, some kale, and a carrot. What fruit did John eat?
a. Carrot
b. Asparagus
c. Kale
d. Tomato
e. Cabbage

3. Make all of your options similar lengths.

Keen test takers look for the shortest or longest option as a shortcut for identifying the correct answer. If your correct answer is a long or short sentence, try to keep the rest of your options equally so.

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