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 Test Question Writing Tips

Preparing Pre/Post-Test Questions

For all CME activities Course Faculty must provide questions for the attendee pre-test and post-test that will demonstrate the participant as gained knowledge as a result of the activity.
ASSH is required to assess learning from participation in continuing medical education events. To address these standards, the Hand Society uses pre- and post-tests for all of its courses.
These questions will be used to evaluate the knowledge of course participants before attending a program and again after the course to see if improvements were made. Questions should come from content discussed during your session.
Please refer to the recommendations below and utilize the resources provided as you prepare your test questions.

Submitting Test Questions

When submitting your survey question and answers
  • Include 1 question, 5 possible answers for each lecture
  • Indicate the Course/Session and Lecture/Discussion your question relates to
  • Don’t forget to mark the correct answer
Submit your question to the course coordinator.  If you don’t know who your course coordinator is, you may send the question to

Tips for Question Writing

The survey we will send to attendees will be multiple choice with five answer choices for all questions. Your question should have five (5) possible answers; 1 correct answer and 4 distracters.

Keep Stems Focused

The stem of the question should contain only essential information. Extraneous details that are not needed to answer the question should be left out.

Cover Up Test

If you cover the answers/distracters, you should be able to generate possible answers just by reading the stem of the question.

Keep Distracters Parallel

If the question concerns treatment, answer and distracters should all be treatments. If it concerns a diagnosis, answer and distracters should all be diagnoses, etc.

Additional Resources – non-ASSH

​For more examples and guidelines, check out these guides. 

National Board of Medical Examiners:

Applied Measurement in Education:

National Board of Examiners in Optometry: