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Question Writing: Do You Know How to Write the Perfect Exam Question?

Wednesday, May 4, 7:00 - 10:00 am

Limit: 70 participants

CME Credit Hours: 3

There are multiple areas of examination in the realm of colon and rectal surgery that require written questions to assess knowledge.  These include the qualifying written exam, the certifying oral exam, continuous certification questions, CARSITE and CARSEP.  Despite looking straightforward, it is extremely difficult to write a good exam question.  Many concepts are controversial and what is not controversial can become trivial.  There are basic guidelines that help the writer, and this is a skill that can be learned and improve with practice.  In recent years emphasis has been placed on how to write an acceptable exam question and guidelines have been published by organizations such as the National Board of Medical Examiners.


At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:

  1. Identify fundamental problems with construction of questions developed for testing purposes
  2. Explain the sequential thinking process used to write an acceptable question and understand how a key concept drives question development
  3. Demonstrate how to write a stem for a question utilizing the key concept as a foundation
  4. Develop a second order question that combines diagnosis and management and format the answers in an acceptable form
  5. Recognize the key differences between a written question and question sequence developed for oral examination formats, as well as questions for various other examination formats


Glenn Ault, MD, MSEd, Los Angeles, CA

7:00 am                               
Glenn Ault, MD, MSEd, Los Angeles, CA
7:05 am                                 
Key Concept – The True Foundation of a Good Question
Jennifer Beaty, MD, Des Moines, IA
7:25 pm                                 
The Stem – The Makings of a Good Question
M. Shane McNevin, MD, Spokane, WA
7:45 am                                 
The Answers – They Can Ruin a Great Stem
Liana Tsikitis, MD, Portland, OR
8:05 am        
Finalizing Questions – Rescue and Salvage                         
Glenn Ault, MD, MSEd, Los Angeles, CA
8:20 am                                 
Critiques – Painful but Very Important
Rebecca Hoedema, MD, Grand Rapids, MI
8:40 am                                 
8:50 am                                 
The Art of Writing an Oral Examination Question
Kellie Mathis, MD, Rochester, MN
9:10 am                                 
Let’s Write Questions
All Faculty
9:40 am                                 
Question Review
All Faculty
10:00 am