General Guidelines for Writing MCQ Items:
1) Do Not Indicate Correct Answers by the Grammar
--- Fruits that were once considered poisonous to humans are
A. tomatoes B. pear C. apple D. strawberry
2) Make All Distracters the Same Length
--- Country X has a large reserve of high-grade oil, but the country does
not produce enough grain for food. The best solution for Country X is:
A. buy food and sell grain.
B. increase oil-drilling production, sell the oil, and import grain.
C. export both grain and oil.
D. import both oil and food.
3) Make All Distracters Plausible
--- __ ! Things are not so bad as they seem.
A. Happy up B. Get up C. Cheer up D. Sit up
5) Each MCQ item should have only one answer.
--- Benedict _____ his anxiety by talking over the problems.
A. overcomes B. meets C. conquers D. defeats
6) Only one feature at a time must be tested.
--- Patrick _____ for his girlfriend at the hotel entrance.
A. waits B. waited C. asks D. worried
7) Each option should be grammatically correct when placed in the stem.
--- Patrick _____ his client yesterday afternoon.
A. called B. have called C. calls D. was called
8) Avoid using difficult, low frequency and morphologically complex vocabulary in
--- The problem was further inspected by his unbridled passion for a riotous
life-style coupled by an immense expenditure of resources which in time were
naturally on the decline.
A. thickened B. drawn out C. wasted D. prompted
9) Do not provide convergence cues (i.e. two or three distracters provide clues as to
what the correct answer is).
--- We are taking a 30 minute break and are going out for _____ this evening.
A. tea B. tee C. party D. dinner
10) The distracters must be of the same syntactic category.
--- The athlete _____ in the race this afternoon.
A. ran B. is running C. easily D. fast
11) Do not provide too low or too many options. The optimum number is 4.
12) Avoiding the following problems at the item-writing stage:
--- The frown on the man's face showed that he was displeased.
A. look of fear B. look of anger C. look of delight D. look of surprise
--- The professor sometimes makes remarks that are not ___ the topic.
A. relevant with B. relevant to C. relating to D. relevant for
--- Some tests are used to predict how well prospective college freshmen
are likely to do in their first-semester grade-point average. The validity that
we are concerned with in this instance is:
A. content validity. B. concurrent validity.
C. predictive validity. D. construct validity.
The stranger had left his native land because he ---
A. wished to seek his fortune. B. wanted to avoid his creditors.
C. preferred the new land. D. none of the above.
E. A and b but not c above. F. B and c but not a above.
--- I would say it is not impossible for someone not as careful as you are to __ this not very important point.
A. overdo B. overlook C. overrate D. overstate
Common Knowledge Response
--- We learn from this passage that Napoleon was
A. British B. French C. Polish D. German
--- The boy took the newspaper
A. because he wanted to read it. B. because he wanted to wrap a gift in it.
C. because he wanted to dispose of it. D. because he wanted to remove an article.
Exercises: Identify the error areas that each of the following MCQs has.
1. John ___ flowers to the party last night.
A. carries B. carried C. lifts D. lifted
2. They said they _____.
A. had gone B. had go C. had went D. have went
3. A body will remain at rest ___ it is acted upon by an external force.
A. should B. since C. unless D. if
4. He thought it was lawful to buy a gun without a permit.
A. allowed by law B. against the law C. a pleasure D. necessary
5. People attending the meeting were all ____.
A. mathematic teachers B. mathematics teachers
C. mathematics teacher D. mathematic's teachers.
6. The soldier shot his comrades. He ___.
A. must be mad B. must have been mad
C. may have been mad D. should have mad
7. The woman __ to the same shop every week.
A. go B. goes C. have gone D. am going
8. When is it not appropriate not to be absent from class?
A. When you are sick. B. When you are young.
C. While class is in session. D. Whenever the teacher is angry.
9. A popular sport fish that is often caught in the Great Lakes region is the:
A. shark. B. tuna. C. swordfish. D. lake trout.
10. The capital of Nebraska is:
A. New York. B. Omaha. C. Los Angeles. D. Lincoln.