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assessmentQ question types

More than multiple choice: all question types at a glance

When you think of an online exam, you probably spontaneously think of a series of ‘traditional’ multiple-choice questions. With an advanced exam platform such as assessmentQ, however, the possibilities are much more extensive, allowing you to make your exams a lot richer and more interactive. Below, we made an overview of all possible question types.


1. Setting exam questions: an art in itself

To conduct an exam, you are going to need some questions. While this may seem obvious, setting exam questions is very much an art in itself.

Firstly, it is important that your questions are perfectly aligned with:

  • the participants’ abilities, and
  • the type of knowledge and/or skills you want to test.


Secondly, what form your questions take also plays a crucial role.

There is a wide range of question types to choose from. You can centre your entire exam around one particular type, e.g. a written exam with 10 open questions. However, most exams include a combination of different question types. For instance, you could:

  • alternate between open and closed questions,
  • link a written evaluation to an oral component, or
  • combine different types of interactions: filling in, indicating, connecting, ranking, etc.


What's new in assessmentQ 2.7?The better your questions match the curriculum’s learning objective, the easier it will be to choose suitable question types. To that end, always consider in advance what it is you want to achieve. Are you testing theoretical knowledge or practical skills? Is this an active or passive knowledge assessment?

Finally, practical or organisational considerations sometimes also come into play when deciding on a particular question type.

In large groups, for example, it is more logical to set multiple-choice exams, as multiple-choice questions are quicker and easier to mark. It is important that you use these considerations as a guide, and not as a deciding factor for or against any particular types of question. After all, if you are looking to test the fluency levels of a large group of participants, there would be no point in organising a multiple-choice written exam.


2. An overview of the most common question types

For an exam, there are many different questions to choose from. In this chapter, we list the most common types.

We discuss 22 question types from 6 categories:

  • Multiple-choice questions (3)
  • Open questions (3)
  • In-text questions (4)
  • Image-based questions (5)
  • Matching and sorting questions (3)
  • Other question types (4)


2.1. Multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice questions are suitable for assessing both factual and conceptual knowledge. We can distinguish three different types:

Multiple-choice questions with one correct answer

A classic multiple-choice question contains two or more possible answers, of which only one is correct. Yes/no and right/wrong questions also belong in this category.

Question types in assessmentQ: multiple choice

Multiple-choice questions with at least one correct answer

In this variation of the classic multiple-choice question, the participant can indicate more than one possible correct answer. This should be clearly indicated in the wording of the question.

Question types in assessmentQ: multiple-choice with multiple answers

Multiple-choice matrix

This type groups together several multiple-choice questions with the same possible answers. Each row or column represents a multiple-choice question with one correct answer.

Question types in assessmentQ: multiple-choice matrix

2.2. Open questions

Open questions are ideal for:

  • getting your participants to think critically,
  • testing their written and oral skills,
  • testing their understanding of specific topics.


There are three variations:

Written open questions

With classic written open questions, the participant has to fill in a particular field or box. This type is ideal for testing the participant’s written skills.

Question types in assessmentQ: open-ended question

Oral open questions

This is essentially the same concept as the written open question, only oral. This type is ideal for testing the participant’s oral skills.

Canvas questions

A lesser known open question type where the participant formulates the answer in graphic form through writing, drawing and colouring on canvas using a ‘pen device’.

Question types in assessmentQ: canvas

2.3. In-text questions

The following four question types start from an incomplete or incorrect text.

Filling in text

These types of questions omit one or more words or groups of words within a text. The participant is tasked with filling the missing information in the empty text boxes.

Question types in assessmentQ: fill in text

Dragging text into text

A variation on the ‘filling in text’ question type, whereby the participant drags different text blocks into correct positions within the text. Want to increase the question difficulty? Add decoys, i.e. answers that do not fit anywhere within the text.

Question types in assessmentQ: dragging in text

Dropdown in text

Another variation of the ‘filling in text’ question type, whereby the participant selects the correct answer from a dropdown list situated within the text. Each list is essentially a multiple-choice question. Here, too, you can add decoys to increase the question difficulty.

Question types in assessmentQ: dropdown in text

Text correction

This question type starts from a monolingual text or a translation containing errors which the participant has to identify, correct and possibly categorise.

Question types in assessmentQ: revising text

2.4. Image-based questions

The following five question types are based on previously unseen images:

Show on image

With this question type, the participant indicates the answer on a previously unseen image. This can involve pointing to either specific points or certain areas within an image.

Question types in assessmentQ: indicate on map

Dragging text onto an image

A variation of the ‘show on image’ question type, whereby the participant drags different text blocks to the correct points or areas on an image. To make the question more difficult, you can also let the participant indicate the correct placement themselves.


Dragging image onto another image

In this variation of the ‘dragging text onto image’ question type, the participant does not drag text, but one or more images onto another previously unseen image. Here, too, you can let the participant decide on the correct placement.


Entering text onto an image

For this question type, the participant fills in the answer in one or more text boxes alongside an image. For greater clarity, use lines to connect the text boxes with the image.

Question types in assessmentQ: drag and drop on image

Dropdown on an image

A variation on ‘dropdown in text’ question type, whereby the participant selects the correct answer from a dropdown menu on an image. Use lines to connect the dropdowns to the image and add decoys to make the question more difficult.

2.5. Matching and sorting questions

Matching and sorting questions group together a number of answers that have to be connected or ranked. We distinguish three types of matching and sorting questions:

Dragging answers into columns

With this question type, the participant drags different answers into the correct column. There are a minimum of two columns, each containing at least one answer. Add decoys that do not belong in any column to make the question more difficult.

Question types in assessmentQ: drag and drop on figurer

Arranging answers vertically

With this question type, the participant has to arrange at least two answers (steps or events) in the correct order. There is only one correct vertical sequence. This question type is ideal for testing procedural knowledge.

Question types in assessmentQ: order vertically

Connecting answers

A variation of the ‘arranging answers vertically’ question type, whereby the participant has to connect answers from different columns. One of the columns is always fixed, and there is only one solution. Choose this question type if the order of the answers does not matter.

Question types in assessmentQ: connecting

2.6. Other question types

Lastly, let us consider four question types that do not belong to any of the previous categories:

Case study

A case study is a grouping of different questions, which may or may not be of different question types. The participant is first shown an information screen, with the questions following after. In a case study, participants can easily switch between the questions and the information screen.



To test a participant’s interpreting skills, you can have them perform simultaneous or consecutive interpreting exercises. In a simultaneous setup, the participant interprets what the speaker is saying as they are saying it. In consecutive interpreting, the speaker stops from time to time to allow the participant to interpret in instalments.

Question types in assessmentQ: interpreting


There are many exercises to test accounting knowledge and skills:

  • journal entries
  • balance sheets
  • income statements
  • results processing
Question types in assessmentQ: accounting


You can take any number of directions with maths exams. Either you assess the exercise as a whole, including the participant’s working out, or simply the final answer.


3. The advantages of digital exam platforms

Nowadays, more and more organisations and educational institutions are making the switch to digital exam platforms. This is no surprise, considering that in a digital environment, any type of question can be applied. Some platforms even suggest the most appropriate question type to use or provide additional support to help you prepare and evaluate your questions.

Here, we go over the main benefits of using digital exam platforms:

3.1. Flexible layouts

In a digital environment, it is easy to (re)position text and media blocks. For example, in a multiple-choice question, you can easily position the answers next to or below one another.

3.2. Media files

On digital exam platforms, you can easily add media files such as images, audio and video. With some question types, such as multiple choice, ‘drag into columns’ or ‘arranging vertically’, media files can also be used as alternative answers.
A good balance between text and media makes for a more enjoyable experience and a better absorption of the examination material. In addition, you can get audio and video clips to play automatically, and determine how many times participants are permitted to play each clip.

3.3. External content

In addition to media files, you can also seamlessly upload external content:

  • as attachments: PDFs, PowerPoints, etc.
  • embedded on the platform: GeoGebra, Google Forms, Vimeo, etc.


For example, do you use a minimum chart of accounts (PCMN/MAR) in your bookkeeping classes? If so, simply upload your PCMN/MAR as an attachment on the digital exam platform!

3.4. Question restrictions

In a digital environment, you can introduce additional restrictions:

  • decide how much time the participant can spend per question,
  • put a limit on the number of characters or words allowed in an open-ended question,
  • limit the number of times a participant can play a media file, verbally answer a question, click on a picture, etc.
  • provide a limited number of symbols in a maths question,
  • use input masks to define a valid input.


3.5. Make recordings

Exercises that test a participant’s oral and presentation skills can be recorded (both video and audio). This can be done automatically.

3.6. Scoring and feedback mechanisms

Digital exams can be marked quickly, easily and in a number of different ways:

  • per question (distinguishing between incorrect and unanswered),
  • per interaction with a certain question (filling in, dragging, dropdown lists, etc.)
  • by the use of keywords in open questions,
  • following the principle of error correction in multiple-choice questions.


You also have different ways of providing feedback:

  • general feedback
  • positive and/or negative feedback
  • answer-specific feedback

3.7. Determining the status of a question

In digital exams, you can also easily determine the status of a question:

  • draft
  • to be revised
  • revised
  • approved (only approved items can be published)


Are you ready to switch to digital exams?

Consult our checklist or get off to a flying start with our complementary 10-step plan.


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About assessmentQ

assessmentQ is the preferred online examination platform for educational institutions, examination centres and many other organisations. Dozens of question types, intelligent scoring mechanisms, insightful reporting and countless integration options: assessmentQ has it all.