Advice regarding examination

This page offers you general advice regarding examinations and test development.

Read more about the advice given below.

Always ask for relevant knowledge/skills/abilities

Ensure the constructive link, that is, each question/assignment in your examination (and the exam as a whole), really measures what is stated in the expected study results and what you have been teaching. Linked to this: ensure that your teaching and the parts of the course literature that you explicitly instructed students to take part in (either orally or in writing) actually are enough to answer the questions or assignments in the exam. Revise exam questions if necessary.

Specific intended course learning outcome (FSR)

Link each examination to a specific FSR

Ensure that all FSRs for the course are examined and that all examinations are linked to at least one FSR.

More than one FSR

If an examination is linked to more than one specific FSR, connect the different parts of the examination (different parts/questions/sub-questions/instructions) to a specific FSR each so that it is clear to you and to other teachers/examiners how each FSR for the course are tested, and that nothing in addition to the FSR is tested.

Adapt the assessment method by category on FSR

  • Preferably, consider the FSR in the Knowledge and Understanding category with short answer questions or closed-ended questions (such as multiple-choice questions) to cover as much of the FSR as possible. If they are assessed with long-answer questions, that is, where students have to write a lot of text, try to keep the answer length as short as possible so that you do not measure their analytical, reasoning or valuation ability (these should be measured in the Valuation and approach category).
  • Assess the FSR in the Skills and Ability category with practical assignments, that is, assignments where students must demonstrate the intended skill, whatever it may be, instead of merely demonstrating knowledge of the skill. Note that a practical skill can still be about the ability to produce something on paper (i.e. an argumentative text, a drawing, or a planning), which must then also be measured in writing, for example through a home-based exam.
  • Preferably evaluate the FSR in the category Valuation and approach with long-answer questions, either orally (i.e. with seminars) or in writing (i.e. essays and the like), since reasoning and valuing ability cannot basically be assessed with closed-ended questions or short answer questions.

Keep the language in the exam as simple as possible

Adapt the choice of wording and grammar based on the students' level. Avoid difficult words and "heavy" terminology (unless explicitly measured in the exam).

Avoid negatives (asking for something NOT). If negatives are still to be included, clearly mark them in bold and uppercase.

Avoid unnecessary text that only serves as window dressing, but does not add anything to the question or understanding of the instructions. Such text only takes time and energy from the student without giving you more information about their knowledge, and is especially troublesome for language impaired students. Window dressing should not be confused with the fact that some questions may need a relevant context to be answered. Similarly, if the exam is intended to measure information retrieval, distracting information is a must.


Do not mislead

Do not try to trick. Avoid trick questions or questions that are intended to mislead the student. All such questions contribute to identifying which students see the trick, not which students actually possess the knowledge you are asking for. Instead, ask straight out and what it is you want answers to.

Ask one question at a time

Avoid two questions in one. If you want to know more than one thing in a particular question, divide it into sub-questions (a. b. and c...) so that it becomes clear to the student exactly what you want the answer to.


Do not ask for opinions if there is a clearly correct answer. Avoid questions like "What do you think ..." "How would you ..." unless it is explicitly the student's reasoning or argument you want to measure, based on the expected study results.


If you have multiple-choice questions or other closed-ended questions - randomize the order of the questions so that not all students receive them in the same order. The same applies to the alternatives for multiple-choice questions.

Assessment instructions

Create clear assessment instructions. Be certain you know how to assess your exam through clear correction templates and assessment instructions with relevant criteria and information about what is required for different grade levels or points.

Double check that the criteria in your assessment instructions are relevant based on the FSR. Skipping assessment instructions and instead going on a "gut feeling" in the assessment is a serious threat to the legal certainty - absolutely do not go on gut feeling.

Attach your assessment instructions to the assignment. Double check that everything that is in your assessment instructions that you should assess, is also clearly stated to the student in instructions for the assignment or exam question. Otherwise, it is very easy for the student to respond in a manner that is reasonable based on the instructions, but not at all what you would have thought based on your assessment instructions.


Ellen Säll