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Previously we have talked about when we should test learners . Now let’s focus on writing successful test questions that support course objectives.

Keep these tips in mind when writing test questions:

Write test questions first.

Once your course objectives are defined, write your test questions before writing your course content. This prevents the trap most of us have fallen into of writing test questions as an afterthought once the course is completed.

Create a question bank.

Create a bank of test questions to choose from. If a learner has to complete the test multiple times, they will receive different test questions each time.

Randomize questions and answers.

When designing your test questions, randomize the answers…so learners cannot memorize the order of the answers in the event they do not pass the test the first time.

Remember, if you use answers such as “All of the Above” or “Both A and B”, then don’t randomize the answers.

Questions should challenge your learners…but not trick them!

Test questions should test learners knowledge, so make them challenging. Do not create “trick” questions…these can be very frustrating for the learner and ultimately sabotage your purpose for testing.

Are your test questions answered in the course content?

Always make sure that the answers to your test questions are included in your course content somewhere (audio, video, graphics, on screen text, etc.). If there are any that are not, then be sure to let the learner know that the question is a “stretch question”.


All test questions should include remediation. Make each test question a learning opportunity even if they get it wrong.

Expected behaviors or results.

What are the expected behaviors of your learners once they have completed the course? Focus your test questions on these behaviors. What do you expect the learner to be able to do/know as a result of completing this course?


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