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Choosing a question type for your own tests

Article 2 of 5 in a series on creating your own tests.

This is the second article in a series of five, to help you create your own tests using the TestGorilla platform. The full series includes:

  1. Developing an effective screening test
  2. Choosing a question type
  3. Writing situational judgment questions
  4. How to create your own test
  5. Creating a coding question or test (optional)

The option for adding your own tests is available to account owners, admins, and recruiters who are on our Scale and Business plans.

When creating your own test, we recommend outlining it before putting it into the TestGorilla platform. This will help ensure that everything is organized and laid out exactly as you want.

Approx. reading time 5 minutes

In this article

  1. Types of questions
  2. Multiple-choice questions
  3. Multiple-response questions
  4. True/false questions
  5. Short text questions
  6. Common questions
  7. Next steps

Types of questions

In this article, we'll focus on the four question types available on our platform.

Each candidate receives a subset of your total question set. The questions are delivered in random order. For that reason, all questions must work on a stand-alone basis.

There are four question types available to use in your custom test. These allow for automated scoring since you provide the correct answer. The question types are:

  1. Multiple-choice
  2. Multiple-response
  3. True/false
  4. Short text

In the question itself, you can:

  • Use rich text — such as bold, italics, or underlined
  • Use bullets and numbering
  • Insert a picture — like a diagram, graph, or figure
  • Insert a LaTeX math formula
  • Insert a video clip, 30 seconds maximum
  • Insert audio clip, 30 seconds maximum

Tip: Our article about the text editor will help you add the listed style and media options to your questions!


Multiple-choice questions

In a multiple-choice question, a candidate has to choose one right answer from a list of choices — most often, four. If designed well, multiple-choice questions have very good psychometric properties, meaning they can clearly distinguish good candidates from poor ones. This makes them the best question type for your tests in general. The majority of your tests should be composed of multiple-choice questions.

Presentation of answers

For each question, you can provide between two and ten answer options. By default, the answer options are shuffled when presented to candidates. You can disable the shuffle if there is a logical or fixed order to these options.

For example, if your answer options are all numbers, you may want to improve readability by ordering them from smallest to largest. Or, if you have duplicate answer sets across multiple questions, you may want to have them appear in the same order every time, making it easier for candidates to select their answer.

Scoring of answers

If there is only one correct answer for your question, assign it 1 point.

Here's a simple example of a multiple-choice question. If "Brasilia" is selected as the answer below, 1 point is awarded.


What is the capital of Brazil?

Sao Paolo
Rio de Janeiro

If you have answer options that are correct to some extent, you can assign 0-5 points to each one. This is helpful for situational judgment tests, in which the answers are not necessarily fully right or fully wrong. Instead, one answer may be better than the other. Each answer will be normalized by our system to 0-1 points, so all questions will have equal weight.

If a partially correct answer is worth 3 points within your question, it will receive a score of 0.6 in the final score, since 3 out of 5 possible points is equal to 60% of the total.


Multiple-response questions

Multiple-response questions offer a creative approach for testing certain skills. However, it can be more challenging for you to come up with the right balance of correct answers and incorrect answers — also known as distractor options — in your choice list. These questions are often less reliable than standard multiple-choice questions and should be used sparingly, though we do encourage you to include a few.

Presentation of answers

For answers, you can enter between two and ten options. Make sure to vary the ratio of right to wrong answers every time you use this question type so that no two questions have the same number of right and/or wrong options.

Scoring of answers

Every question will be normalized by our system to 1 point for a fully correct answer, so all questions have equal weight. 


Which of these is a fruit? Select all that apply.


If avocado and pear are both selected, 1 point is awarded. In other combinations that include one or both of the correct answers along with incorrect answers, a score between 0 and 1 points is awarded.


True/false questions

True/false questions are a special case of multiple-choice questions — they allow for a faster response from the candidate. You can use this type if you feel that some of your other questions take longer and you'd like to reduce the average time necessary to answer.

However, since candidates have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, you should also use this question type sparingly.

Presentation of answers

The answer options for this question type are simply True or False — 1 point is awarded to the right answer and 0 points to the wrong answer.

Scoring of answers

Every question will receive 1 point or 0 points, based on a correct or incorrect answer.


True or false: The capital of Brazil is Sao Paolo.



Short text questions

This question type should only be used for short answers expressed in specific words and only those words. This question type works well for testing vocabulary and spelling in a language test, checking terminology — such as the name of a function or method in coding — and for questions that have only one specific answer.

Presentation of answers

For answers to this type of question, you can provide up to 10 right answers, each of which can be up to 300 characters in length. To be awarded a point, the candidate's entered text must match exactly with one of the right answers. The answer, however, is not case-sensitive. Candidates can only enter plain text.

Scoring of answers

Every question will receive 1 point or 0 points, based on whether the candidate provided a fully correct answer compared to those provided.


What is the largest country in the world by surface area?


In this example, RussiaRussian Federation, and The Russian Federation are all awarded 1 point because they were listed as acceptable answers. However, The Federation of Russia was not provided as an acceptable answer, so it will receive 0 points.

This means that an answer containing a typo will also be marked wrong. If the candidate in the above example answered Russian Fedreation, the answer will be deemed incorrect by the system.

It's worth including an instruction to your candidates to be mindful of typos.


Common questions

Can I add a coding question to my test?
You have the option of creating a specific coding test or adding a coding question as a custom question in your assessment. It isn’t possible to add a coding question to a non-coding test.

Can my questions build off each other?
The algorithm we use to select questions will choose an assortment from your overall test bank and present them in a random order. Due to this, all questions should work on an individual basis and should not make reference to any of your other questions.


Next steps

As mentioned above, this is the first article in a series of five, to help you create your own tests using the TestGorilla platform.

The full series includes:

  1. Developing an effective screening test
  2. Choosing a question type
  3. Writing situational judgment questions
  4. How to create your own test
  5. Creating a coding question or test

We recommend you next read article three: Writing situational judgement questions