If you’ve written quizzes in the past, you know how hard it is to write really great questions and realistic response options. It’s a tricky balance between something that’s an incorrect answer, but still plausible enough that the learner doesn’t dismiss it outright.

To make sure you get the best quiz questions and response options possible, refer to this checklist of 20+ tips when writing your quizzes:

  • All questions are related to learning objectives and course content
  • All questions present the learner with feedback that supports the correct answer
  • All questions avoid the use of humor, analogies, and cultural references
  • All questions avoid complex sentences, ambiguous terms, and slang
  • All questions avoid trick responses (this includes multiple correct responses, ambiguous answers, and overly abstract responses)
  • Avoid true-or-false questions, if possible
  • Response options that do not begin with the same word (if so, this word should appear in the question)
  • Consistent number of response options for all questions
  • All questions have at least 3-4 response options
  • All questions and correct responses have been vetted by an SME or expert
  • Avoid use of “all of the above” and “none of the above” in response options
  • All response options are realistic and plausible
  • All response options follow correct sentence structure to fit with the question
  • All response options are approximately the same length
  • All response options are parallel in grammatical structure
  • All response options contain the same amount of detail
  • Response options do not overlap or are too similar
  • Response options avoid the use of negative items (“Which of these items is NOT…”)
  • If response options must include negative items, negative words are all in CAPS
  • All correct response options are covered in the course material
  • Double-check all questions and response options for grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, contradictions, and use of active voice.
  • All questions and response options avoid the use of absolute terms like “always” and “only”

By checking all of your quiz questions and response options against this checklist, you can greatly improve the quality of your quizzes, and improve your learner’s experience taking your quiz.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share about writing more meaningful and relevant quiz questions and responses? If you do, please leave a comment!

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27 Comments
Ashley Chiasson
Karen Mineards

Hi Nicole.. thanks for these great tips. I wonder if you cvan help me with something else related to quizzes. I potsed the following on the Support Forum on Tuesday 8th April but I haven't heard anything: Hi, I hope you can help. I did find an archived post on my topic but didn't resolve it from that. I'm a newbie! I am using Presenter and Quizmaker 09. I have a number of quizzes throughout the eLearning which all learners MUST complete once. But they are allowed to go back to look at slides they have already seen. If they do this, when they go forwards again, I want them to be able to skip the quiz that they have already completed. Note, there is no pass mark, but learners must get each question correct before they can move on to the next question. I have the Properties of the sl... Expand

Dana Kocalis
Rod Squires

New user of Storyline2. I see above it recommends not using "all the above" or "none of the above". When I developed some quiz questions I had a couple with "all the above" as a choice and also a few that provided three specific responses (A, B, C) and the remaining two choices as: D. A & C and E. A, B & C. On one of the questions the correct answer was E (A,B & C). However when a colleague tested the quiz they selected A, B & C before than selecting E but they did not go back and unselect A,B & C so it came back as INCORRECT because it considered only E as the correct answer. So my question is why do you recommend not using "all the above" or offering a choices like my example above? Is it because there is no way to make questions like this work in storyline2 or is there a... Expand

Nicole Legault

Hi Rod! In your case, it sounds like best approach would be to do multiple choice rather than a Multiple select, and then make E the only correct answer. However, in general, I think that kind of question is confusing and tricky for the learner (including all the options as A, B, and C, and then also including an "A, B & C" option as option D or E) and should be avoided altogether. The reason I recommend against using "all of the above" and "none of the above" has nothing to do with the Storyline software, it only has to do with instructional design best practices. Usually those choices (all of the above and none of the above) are used too much and as a filler, instead of thinking of meaningful choices. Also, they can lead to confusion as I mentioned previously. That's why I Recommend aga... Expand

Cary Glenn