Writing Exam Questions

Time required: Short

Grading: Minimal or not required

Disciplines: Any discipline

Why:  Writing exam questions encourages students to think about the most important topics in a unit and gives them a way to actively engage with their notes; it also gives you a bank of potential review or exam questions.

How: Direct students to write exam questions that are similar to the types of questions you typically use on your tests.  Specify a certain number of questions per topic to prevent them all from writing about the first topic in the unit.  To use the questions for reviewing:

  • In a face to face class, have students write questions with answers on the back of their paper, then swap papers
  • In an online class, have students post their questions on a discussion board.  For autograded questions, they can make up free Survey Monkey quizzes and post the links in a discussion thread (keep in mind that the free quiz size is limited to 10 questions); this gives students a large bank of review questions to work through prior to your exam.

If you do this routinely, you can build knowledge of Bloom’s taxonomy as you go through the semester, requiring higher level questions as the semester goes on.