11 Point Checklist: How to Evaluate a Multiple Choice Question

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”).

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