Style and Syntax guideline

The following recommendations are a minimum subset analysed. They are used to ensure a minimum checklist.

Recommendations for Stems

  • The stem could be answered without reading the distractors.
  • Prefer to form the stem as a question ended with “?” rather than a sentence ended with “:”
  • Limit the use of negative stems. 
  • Certain key words in the stem should always appear in upper case, e.g., NO, NOT, CANNOT, MUST, BEST, LEAST, MINIMUM, MAXIMUM, TRUE, FALSE, MOST, UNLIKELY. These upper-case words should not appear in the distractors. 
  • Use a maximum of one word in upper case in each stem.
  • No double negatives in a stem.
  • All customer names to appear in a consistent and agreed format.
  • All stems to include abbreviations in a consistent agreed format.
  • Do not use “you”, e.g. ... what would you do?

Recommendations for distractors

  • "All of the above" and "None of the above" are NOT to be used in distractors.
  • NO upper-case words (NOT, NO, etc) should appear in a distractor.
  • Avoid duplication of the first words for all distractors. Move them in the stem.
  • Avoid expressions like ALWAYS, NEVER, ONLY, MUST, etc... in the distractors. 
  • Be consistent in the string length of the distractors.
  • All figures after the decimal point to be removed when they are all zeros.

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