Creating a Multiple Choice question

NOTE: Multiple Choice questions can be used in standard tests, legacy tests, and the Surpass (Legacy) tablet app. For more information about test delivery types, read About Surpass test delivery options.

A Multiple Choice question offers candidates a set of possible answers to a problem. One of these answers is the correct answer and the others are plausible but incorrect answers (also known as distractors). Candidates can select one answer option as their response.

This article explains how to create a basic Multiple Choice question in Surpass and includes details on how to add rationale and labels to answer options, create two column answer layouts, and use table answers in HTML subjects.

In This Article

1. Choose your item type

In your subject, select Create New Item to open the Question Types menu. Choose Multiple Choice to create a blank Multiple Choice item and go to the Edit screen.

2. Name your item

Enter the item’s name in the Name field.

An item's Name field filled with 'Sample Item Name'.

3. Enter your question text

NOTE: Question stem tables and the formatting toolbar behave differently in Mixed subjects and HTML subjects. For more information, read Creating tables in items and Using the formatting toolbar.

Enter your question text in the question stem. Select Add Text Area to add an additional question stem. You can have a maximum of five question stems per item.

A Multiple Choice question stem with the following content: 'What is the largest US state by population'

Open Additional Options to add source material or assistive media to your question stem. In mixed subjects, you can also add a table to your question stem (in HTML subjects, tables can be added using the formatting toolbar).

Two column item layout (HTML subjects only)

A two column layout displays Supporting Content alongside the Question Content allowing the candidate to see all information provided without the need for scrolling.

IMPORTANT: Two column item layout is only supported in MCQ items in HTML subjects.

4. Add your answer options

Enter your answer options in the answer fields. Multiple Choice items default to three answer options.

Select Add Answer Option to add an additional answer option. You can have a maximum of 30 answer options per Multiple Choice item. Select Delete to remove an answer option. Multiple Choice items must have a minimum of three answer options.

Four Multiple Choice answer options with the following content: "California", "Texas", "New York", and "Florida".

Adding labels to answer options

You can add short labels to your answer options, like ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’.

Adding answer option rationale

The Rationale fields let you leave a comment against each answer option. This is useful if multiple authors are working on the same item and you want to explain the reasons behind your authoring choices.

Re-ordering answer options (random, alphabetical, manual)

By default, Surpass presents Multiple Choice answer options to candidates in a randomised order. If answer options are not set to be randomised, they are delivered to the candidate in the same order they are seen in the Edit screen. You can also order answer options alphabetically, or manually re-order your answer options on an option-by-option basis.

Using answer layout options

Multiple Choice answer options can be presented in either one or two columns. In a two column layout, you can combine text, image, and/or equation content in a single answer option.

Setting answer options as a table (HTML subjects only)

You can set HTML Multiple Choice answer options to be a table. This lets candidates choose their response from a predefined set of related answer options.

5. Set the correct answer and marks

NOTE: This only applies to computer-marked Multiple Choice items. For more information about human marking, read Setting the marking type.

You can choose between two marking modes for Multiple Choice items: standard and weighted.

Using standard marking

In a Multiple Choice item with standard marking, candidates must select the correct answer to receive all marks assigned to the item.

EXAMPLE: In a Multiple Choice item worth ten marks, any candidate that selects the correct answer will receive ten marks. Candidates will receive no marks if they select any other answer.

Using weighted marking

In a Multiple Choice item with weighted marking, each answer option has its own marking value.

EXAMPLE: One candidate may choose answer option A and receive two marks. Another candidate may choose answer option B and receive four marks. Yet another candidate may choose answer option C and receive no marks.

6. Select a workflow status

Set the item’s workflow status in the Status drop-down menu. Only items set to Live can be used in a test.

An item's workflow status being set to Live.

7. Preview your question

WARNING: Flash is no longer supported by web browsers. Use the Surpass Viewer to preview items in the legacy test driver. For more information, read Installing the Surpass Viewer.

To see your item from a candidate’s perspective, select Preview .

In Mixed subjects, you can preview your item in the HTML test driver. Use the Preview arrow to open the Preview Options menu and select Preview in HTML . Any custom CSS is applied in the Preview screen. For more information on custom CSS, read ‘About Subject settings’ in About Site Settings options.

You can check your item’s marking behaviour in the Preview screen. Select answer options to update the Mark field.

If you need to continue working on the item, select Edit to return to the Edit screen.

8. Saving and closing your item

Select Save to save your item to your subject.

To see additional saving options, use the Save arrow to open the Save Options menu. Select Save & Close to save the item and return to the Subjects screen. Select Save & New to save the item and create another Multiple Choice item.

WARNING: Saving changes to live items included in scheduled tests might affect candidate delivery.

Select Close to leave the Edit screen. If you have unsaved changes, you are prompted to either save or discard them.