Exam Checklist


Are students prepared for the exam?

Make old exams available to students, if possible. Make clear before any test what material you consider important. Make sure students have practice with the kinds of questions/problems on the exam.

Does the exam reflect your goals for the course?

Compare material in the test to the major topics listed in your syllabus, lecture outlines, and the textbook, to make sure you’ve been consistent.

Is the exam of reasonable length?

Take the exam yourself. You should generally be able to finish in one-fourth the time it will take the students. Keep time-consuming number- crunching to a minimum.

Are the directions and the format clear and well organized?

Ask a colleague or TA to read over the instructions to help you spot any ambiguities or misleading statements. Make sure the print is clear and that if there’s space left for problems/ essays, it is of suitable length.

Is it clear how much credit each question is worth?

Make sure that the value of each question is clear, so students can decide how much time to spend on each part of the exam.

Is it free of double jeopardy?

Do students need an answer from one part of the exam in order to understand or solve another?

Does it begin with questions or problems that will build, rather than undermine, student confidence?

Have compassion for students’ test anxiety and start an exam with questions that are reasonably easy for a prepared student.

Are the questions/problems interesting?

Try to include interesting applications or combinations of material that show the value of the material students are being tested on. Make sure to challenge, but not to confuse, your students.