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Preparing for Exam Administration

Writing Multiple Choice Questions

There are as many formats and preferences for writing multiple choice exam questions as there are faculty members. Check with the instructor of the course for the specific format he or she prefers. See appendix A for using Word for writing test questions.

Different versions of the same test

If you will have more than one version of the test, have the students bubble in the appropriate letter (A, B, C) as the very last question of the exam. This will help you to easily locate scantrons scanned with the wrong version when editing your raw data files.

Proofread the exam

When more than one possible answer exists for a question, you will need to regrade the exam. While this can be done fairly easily with scanTrax,
you will want to avoid the possibility of having to use this part of the program. Proof-reading the exam before administration, therefore, is a must.


Have a good coversheet prepared for the exam. If the instructor does not have one, make one up far enough in advance of the test date so that it can be aped to the exam when it is sent to be copied. Without being too detailed or wordy, a good coversheet will include the following (see also Appendix C):

  1. instructions on how to bubble in the student ID number correctly
  2. where and how to indicate the version of the test the student is taking
  3. how to change an answer properly
  4. the time limit of the test
  5. what to do when the students are finished taking the exam
  6. any possible penalties to the student (i.e. for cheating or providing inaccurate information on the Scantron form)

Assigned seating

You will cut down on the possibility of students cheating on the exam if you randomly assign seats for the exam. For large classes using PSLH 100, there is a file on disk with the numbered seats in a column. You can open this in Excel and import your class roster (available through egrades, page 9). Post the seating assignment one class period before the exam date so that students will know where to sit before test time. Before the test starts, have students place their IDs on their desks. During the test administration, one TA should check these IDs against the seating chart.


It is a good idea to have at least one faculty member present during the exam administration. Therefore, TAs, insist that the instructor is present during the exams.

On the Exam Date

  • Make sure you have more than enough of the proper Scantron forms (F-158) for the class.
  • Intermix the different versions of the exam when they are returned to the department office from being copied.
  • Fill in your answer keys (you’ll be glad you did this ahead of time). Be sure to have any grading information, including the class roster, other TAs for the class may have in their possession. You may want to have the course instructor obtain a computer file of the class roster from the registrar’s office through egrades (see page9). You can use this list to locate ID numbers when scoring the exams and to enter the test scores if there are multiple tests for the class.
  • Gather sharpened pencils, exam booklets, and Scantrons onto a cart for transporting the exam supplies to the test site.

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