What Are the Different Types of Standardized Test Questions?

Any type of test in which there is little variation between individual tests, testing procedures are the same for all test takers, and scoring methods are consistent is considered a standardized test. Essay questions, multiple choice questions, true-false questions, and timed questions are all examples of standardized test questions that may appear on different tests. Some tests use only one type of standardized test question, while others use a combination of questions to assess aptitude.

Writing ability, language fluency, grammar, and comprehension are all measured using standardized test questions that require an essay. These questions are typically timed and require test takers to write an essay of a specific length. The majority of essay questions are based on a broad topic or a prompt that contains specific information that must be analyzed in the body of the essay. Essays are controversial as standardized test questions because there is a greater chance of scoring subjectivity. To avoid subjectivity from skewing results, scoring procedures for essay questions usually involve multiple readers and an averaged score.

Because multiple choice questions are simple to score, they are frequently used on standardized tests. A test taker must choose the correct answer from a list of several options to answer a multiple choice question. In well-designed questions, there will be only one correct answer, though there may be an option for “all of the above” or “none of the above” in the answer choices. Multiple choice questions are preferred some test takers, especially in math, because the answers can be plugged back into the question and checked for accuracy. When an answer isn’t obvious right away, this method can help you answer the question correctly.

True-false standardized test questions are similar to multiple-choice questions, but there are only two options. In these questions, the test-taker is given a premise, which could be a factual statement, a mathematical equation, or a logic problem, and must determine whether the premise’s conclusion is true or false. True-false standardized test questions have only one correct answer, similar to multiple choice questions, making them simple to score.

Timed questions can be used in a variety of ways to determine a test taker’s speed and accuracy. In order to maintain fairness for all test takers, standardized tests frequently have a total time limit, as well as suggested time limits for each section. Timed questions can also be used to assess speed in specific areas, such as determining how quickly a test-taker can solve ten basic math problems, type a sentence, or write a complete response to a short essay question.