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Exam Checklist

Consider the following when constructing exams:

  • Can students reasonably expect to be prepared for these questions? In other words, do the questions reflect what has been emphasized in class and in assignments?
  • Does the exam build students' confidence? Do you start with recall or knowledge level questions and build to application, synthesis, etc.?
  • Is the format organized? Does a question continue on another page? If so, create a page break, such that the entire question, and options, if applicable, are all on the same page.
  • Is it clear how many points each question is worth? This helps students plan their time accordingly.
  • Is there appropriate space for each answer? The amount of space available for short answer and essay questions should be based on the response expected. If you need room for your comments when grading, consider making the margins wider.
  • Based on learning principles, what students are tested on is what they think is important and what they are likely to remember in the long term. In other words, are you testing on the information you want them to retain and transfer?
  • To determine how long to give students to take the test, take it yourself and allow the students three to four times as long as it took you.


"Teaching Strategies: Testing and Grading Issues." Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. U. of Michigan, 2009. Web. 19 May 2010.

Gross, Barbara D. "Quizzes, Tests, and Exams." Faculty Development. Honolulu Comm. Coll., 1999. Web. 19 May 2010.

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