Main Forms of Test Questions

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There are a number of types of multiple-choice test formats, and here we are going to tell you about each of them. So, with the help of this information, you will know how to vary the forms of testing and create the tasks for every part of your test properly. You should also remember that every question/task needs to have the following parts:

  • Instruction (on how to do the task);
  • The content of the task;
  • Variants of answers;


Choose One Correct Item

One Correct Answer

This task consists of the task which has only one correct answer, and a few more incorrect answers are offered to confuse the student. Those incorrect close-to-correct answers are called distractors by their actual function in the exam test. There are two groups of composition for such tasks.

Principles of composition for the content of the exam test task

Here are the principles that need to be mentioned in this category:

  • Principle of homogeneity: the answers in such tasks should be homogeneous concerning their form and visual features.
  • Principle of negativity. This is when the second answer is formed simply by adding “not” to the previous one. This “not” gives negative sense not to the task, but to the previous answer.
  • Principle of alternative. This is when two answers are opposite to each other.
  • Principle of supplementation. This is when each next answer has an extra element in addition to the previous one.
  • Principle of a chain. This is when the ending of the previous answer is the beginning of the next one.
  • Principle of gradation. This is when the answers are organized based on the increase or decrease of a certain quantitative feature.
  • Principle of double alternative. This is when each one answer consists of 4 items, parts of which are built based on the principle of alternatives.

Such questions have the following advantages: clarity of interpretation, exact structure, high speed of exam testing process, objectiveness. There are also a few disadvantages, namely: a lot of time spent on creating a qualitative exam test, complexity of the search for appropriate distractors, low effectiveness in evaluation of possibility to resolve issues, limited possibility to express oneself.

Choose a Few Correct Items

The construction of such type of tasks is pretty much the same as for the previous types. The probability of guessing a few answers is much lower though. To formulate answers, one needs to apply distractors and correct answers. The tasks with a few correct answers are considered to be completed properly if all the correct answers have been found. One can change the system of evaluation and add points for each correct answer found. It is necessary to inform the students about the set system of evaluation before the beginning of the exam test.

Choose One Full and Correct Item

Here you can see correct complete answers and correct incomplete answers. A student is required to find the best and the fullest answer to choose.

Additional Requirements and Recommendations for Task Formulation

Here are some more tips for successful accomplishment of the task for exam, where students need to choose one of a few correct out of suggested variants.

  • There must not be any ambiguity or lack of clarity in formulation of the task.
  • The task needs to be short, better a one-sentence-long simple syntactic construction.
  • If the answers start with the same words, it is better to add them to the task and remove from answers to avoid repetition.
  • All the answers should be more or less the same in length.
  • It is necessary to remove all possible verbal associations from the task if they may point out to the correct answer.
  • One must not use the exam, where an answer may be understood based on the previous tasks.
  • It is prohibited to use the tasks which are aimed at subjective evaluation or require a personal opinion on certain issues.
  • All the distractors should be similarly attractive for those, who do not know the correct answer.
  • No distractor can be a partly correct answer, which can be taken as correct under some circumstances.
  • All the variants of answers should be in a grammatical correlation with the task of the question.

In our next article, we will discuss the principally different type of multiple-choice exam test tasks.

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