Guidelines for Preparing Multiple Choice Questions

  • Select the words to be tested.
  • Get the right kind of sentence (called the stem) to put each word in.
  • Choose several wrong words (called distractors) to put the right word with.
  • Finally, prepare clear and simple instructions.


  • Make sure the distractors are the same form of the word tested.
  • Be sure you don’t give away the right answer through grammatical cues.
  • Multiple-choice items should be about the same level of difficulty.
  • Be sure not to include more than one correct answer.

Identify the Weakness in Each of the Following MCQs.

Vocabulary Items:

1. Do you need some …………….. to write on.

  1. paper.
  2. pen.
  3. table.
  4. material.

2- The mouse ……………………. quickly away.

  1. little.
  2. very.
  3. baby.
  4. ran.

3. I think he will be here in an …………………….

  1. hour.
  2. soon.
  3. weekend.
  4. day after.

4. They ………………….  me to get up right away.

  1. asked.
  2. needed.
  3. wanted.
  4. told.

Grammar Items:

1. If I had a new coat, …………………………

  1. I’d show it to everyone.
  2. I’ve shown it to everyone.
  3. I showed it to everyone.
  4. I’ll show it to everyone.

2. They just bought …………………….. furniture.

  1. several.
  2. a few.
  3. some.
  4. with.

For more knowledge on preparing a good language test and writing effective test items, you can get my book:

“Writing Effective Test Items: The Definitive Guide”.

What is This eBook About?

It is a practical guide to constructing effective test questions. It provides teachers with step-by-step instructions they need to go deeper, further and faster toward making a success in preparing effective classroom exams with ease and comfort.

Why Did I Create it?

I created this eBook because many teachers asked me frequently for a guide to help them write test questions in a more effective way.

What Benefits Can You Get From It?

In this eBook, I share my experience in creating successful exams over +20 years. It is the comprehensive guide that I wish someone would have shared with me when I first started to make classroom tests for my students.

After reading this guide, teachers will be able to:

  • Establish the technical quality of a test by achieving certain standards.
  • Use and develop effective test items following appropriate guidelines.
  • Avoid common pitfalls in testing their students.
  • Grade essay tests more effectively and fairly.

Who is This eBook For?

This guide is a valuable resource for any teacher who is interested in constructing test items that can capture effectively and fairly what a student knows.

It is the comprehensive guide that I personally wish someone would have shared with me when I first started to make classroom tests for my students.

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