Avoid confusion with test questions by using the right questions, choosing words carefully, and paying attention to formatting.

Tips to write better test questions and rules


Avoid confusion by using the right questions, choosing words carefully, and paying attention to formatting

Don’t give away the answer with the formatting of questions and answers
Formatting can give away the correct answer, even with no context of the subject.

Question format 

The example above includes three lines, which gives away the answer of New York City because the other options are two words or less. 

Sentence and answer format

Even with no context of the event or attendees, you can probably guess the correct answer based on the titles before the blanks and the order of the names. A simple way to improve this question is to remove Mr. and Ms.

Click here for in-depth tips for each question type.

Tips for Writing Test Rules
Remove subjectivity
Just like test questions, make sure the test rules are clear and objective.

Less effective: No other devices in view during this exam.
More effective: Remove all other electronic devices from the testing area/room during all exams.

  • In the “Less effective” example, students may think: “I can’t have other devices in view of the webcam, but I can use them if they’re out of view.”

Less effective:  Don’t speak to people in your testing room.
More effective: No talking during all exams.

  • In the “Less Effective” example, students may think: “It’s okay to ask my friend because they’re in a different room.”

Less effective:  Do not copy and paste functions.
More effective: Do not use any copy, cut, or paste function.

  • In the “Less Effective” example, the student may think: “I can’t copy and paste, but I can use cut and paste.”

Use test rules, LMS settings, and proctor notes to allow accommodations
Accommodations are an important part of accessibility in online learning and they’re often needed to provide a fair and equitable test experience. 
Extend exam time limits and attempts
Use LMS exam settings to provide extra time to complete the exam and multiple attempts. 

Allow assistive technology
Aside from ensuring the assistive technology integrates with your LMS and proctoring solution, provide notes for the remote proctor that specific students are allowed to use assistive technology. 

For example:

  • Jane Doe can use a screen reader during the online test. 
  • John Smith can use speech-to-text software.

Allow certain resources
By providing proctors with instructions, you can allow students to use other resources to complete the exam, such as scratch paper, books, and access to specific websites.

Provide bathroom breaks
If you’re using online proctoring, allowing bathroom breaks can be completed by adding notes for the test proctor, such as:

  • Students are allowed one 3-minute bathroom break.
  • John Doe is allowed three bathroom breaks.

Use online proctoring to protect academic integrity and support students
Honorlock’s online proctoring solution combines AI test monitoring with live test proctors to make online proctoring simple, easy, and human. The AI monitors the exam for potential academic dishonesty and alerts a live proctor in real-time if it detects any issues. This blend of AI and human review delivers a non-invasive proctored testing experience for the student because they aren’t constantly being watched. 

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