How to write exam papers?

As a lifelong learner and a perpetual student, writing exam papers can help transforming one into a better exam taker. This is the same principle as one learns best when one has to teach what s/he has learned.

Here are guidelines to write exam papers:

  1. Be clear and explicit.
  2. Style matters. Always try to word your questions in a fashion that the students are familiar with. In the words of a mentor RB: "As often as I can, I try to copy the wording of similar questions from the text book. If the students have done the assigned homework exercises during the course then they will be familiar with the wording of the questions … if they haven’t done the assigned homework then not being able to understand the wording of the quiz/exam question is entirely their own fault." His words assured me of my practice in Fall 2015, because first I encouraged students to do and practice their homework questions, second I have higher immunity from students who (will) complain that (i) English is not their mother tongue or (ii) the wordings questions are too complicated to understand.
  3. All pages of the exam must be numbered in the format ‘page X of Y’.
  4. All questions must be numbered clearly and in sequence.
  5. All questions sub-sections must be labelled clearly, consistently and in sequence.
  6. The marks allocated to all questions and sub-sections must be clearly labelled.
  7. Double check that marks for all questions and sub-sections correctly add up to the total marks.
  8. For weak students, provide a pool of potential exam questions.

See also:

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