Multiple choice questions (MCQs) can be based on text, images, diagrams or listening to audio/watching a video clip and choosing the correct option.
MCQs are probably the most commonly used question type due to their perceived ease of creation, however, it requires considerable thought and preparation to produce high quality questions and a meaningful list of options.
The question and options should be written so that the learner learns something from the question even if they get it wrong, and should have their knowledge reinforced if they get it correct.
- The alternative answers should be realistic and look similar in length with similar sentence structure.
- The answers should be random and follow no discernible patterns e.g. alternate questions answer 'A' or cycle through A, B, C, D.
- Clear instruction as to whether there is one or more than one correct answer. Ideally keep to having only 1 correct answer.
- Use options of ‘All of the above’ or 'None of the above' very sparingly as the ‘All of the above’ option can encourage guessing if the learner thinks one or two answers are correct. Using ‘None of the above’ means that you can’t tell if the learner really knew the correct answer or was just guessing.
- Don't ask trick questions or use trick options where the reading of the question is being tested and not the actual knowledge required to answer it.
University of Texas at Austin: Multiple Choice Questions
Vanderbilt University: Writing Good Multiple Choice Test Questions
All efforts have been made to ensure materials created by the EDU comply with current accessibility guidelines (JISC: Support for learners with disabilities).
If further assistance is required with accessibility matters please contact the student support section in your academic partner UHI: Accessing learner support.
Unless otherwise stated all external links will open in a new tab/window
We welcome any comments on how to improve this unit. Please feel free to pass these on at any time.
If you have any difficulty viewing this resource please contact EDU (email@example.com) with:
- the name of the resource;
- a description of the problem (please give as much detail as possible);
- the section of the resource where the problem occurred;
- your internet browser (you can check your browser version at: http://detectmybrowser.com/).
UHI provides links to external sources of information and may refer to specific Web sites, products, processes or services within this resource. Such references are examples and are not endorsements and whilst every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy of information provided UHI is not responsible for any of the content or guidance. You are advised to exercise caution.
Download a copy of this resource in PDF format.
You can also print individual pages by printing directly from the browser.