The title says it all. I had to research this question because I need to evaluate questions written for a certification exam. For years, my exam Bible has been this blog post from Cynthia Brame.

I distilled her main points to a checklist (the “tl;dr”).

- The stem presents a single problem.
- The stem is aligned to the testing objective.
- The stem only contains necessary information (i.e. no extraneous information).
- The stem only contains negation if necessary.
- The stem is a question.
- Each possible answer is plausible.
- Each possible answer only contains necessary information (i.e. no extraneous information).
- Each possible answer is mutually exclusive of other answers.
- Each possible answer has grammar consistent with the stem.
- Each possible answer is parallel in form (length, language construction) to at least one other answer.
- Each possible answer is presented in logical order, if one can be determined.

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