Division of Academic Affairs
In the second of two parts, Harish Cherukuri shares some guidelines for preparing multiple choice questions. He breaks the guidelines into three categories: general guidelines, stem construction and rules for writing options.
Welcome to Teaching & Learning Matters. This is Harish Cherukuri, Faculty Fellow in the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Today’s podcast is Part 2 of Preparing Multiple Choice Questions.
In Part 1, I defined some terminology that is commonly used to identify various parts of multiple choice questions. I also briefly discussed the advantages and disadvantages of these questions. In this part, I will present some guidelines for preparing multiple choice questions. I hope that you will find them useful. I will break up the guidelines into three categories: General guidelines, Guidelines for Stem Construction and Rules for Writing Options.
So, let us start with General Guidelines:
Next, let us talk about some guidelines for the construction of the stem:
In this question, the stem is “Tokyo is” and all the options have the common text “the capital of”. The question would sound better if this common text is moved to the stem. This modification also has the effect of reducing the reading time.
The third part, and perhaps the most difficult part in writing a multiple choice question, is the construction of options. Here are a few general rules that can make it easier to develop the options.
Now that I have shared some of my thoughts on preparing multiple-choice questions, I would like to emphasize that some planning is necessary in preparing these questions. I hope that the guidelines that I have suggested will prove useful in this regard.
I would also like to point out again that there is a wealth of information available on the web on this topic. In the transcript that accompanies this podcast, I have provided a few links that provide more information and references on writing multiple choice questions. Please take a look at them if you would like to learn more.
Thanks for listening. Be sure to join us for our next episode. And remember: Teaching and Learning Matters.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001 · 704-687-8622
Follow UNC Charlotte