Examination assessment types

Examination – Centrally administered/end-of-study period

A centrally administered examination typically occurs in the official examination period at the end of the study period. It is a formal assessment of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, in a pre-determined, restricted time span under invigilated conditions.

Examination – In-class

An in-class examination occurs within class time. It is a formal assessment of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, in a pre-determined, restricted time span under invigilated conditions.

Examination – Medication calculation

A medication calculation examination requires students to undertake accurate and quick drug calculations, under invigilated conditions.

Examination – Online

An online examination is undertaken online. It is a formal assessment of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, typically in a pre-determined time frame (i.e. when open) and restricted time span.

Examination – Practical/skills demonstration (laboratory, studio, field, other)

A practical/skills demonstration is a formal assessment of performance-related skills through set practical tasks/questions, in a pre-determined, restricted time span under invigilated conditions.

Examination – Take home

A take home exam is undertaken at home. The examination question(s) are distributed and the exam is returned within a short, specified period of time.

Quiz/test – In-class

An in-class quiz is a short test undertaken within class time, under invigilated conditions, which typically comprises multiple choice and short answer questions. It usually has a low weighting and used for formative assessment purposes.

Quiz/test – Online

An online quiz is a short test undertaken online, which typically comprises multiple choice and short answer questions. It usually has a low weighting and used for formative assessment purposes.


Please note that ‘examination’ denotes the assessment condition (i.e. typically time and resource-constrained). Assessment types can be:

Yes/No questions

Questions that require either a yes or no response.

True/False questions

Questions that require the student to indicate whether the statement is true or false.

Multiple choice questions (MCQs)

A Multiple Choice Question consists of a lead-in question or statement (stem), followed by a list of options from which students select one answer. At the most basic level, only one of the options is correct. At higher levels, students are asked to choose the ‘best answer’, with several options being potentially correct but one being a better match to the stem than the others. MCQs are used to test knowledge (factual recall) objectively and efficiently (computer-marked). MCQs can be structured to test higher order skills and levels of cognition, such as understanding, application of knowledge and evaluation of information, when the question stem takes the form of a problem, scenario or vignette.

Extended Matching Questions (EMQs)

Extended Matching Questions are designed to assess students’ understanding and clinical reasoning. The EMQ format has four components and starts with a title or theme statement defining the subject area. The title is followed by the list of options – the possible answers to the question/s that follow. A lead-in statement then provides instructions and links the list of answers to the question/s, which often take the form of a clinical vignette. The student has to respond to each question by selecting the best answer from a large list (range from 5 up to 20+), where one or more answers are potentially correct.

Key Feature Questions (KFQs)/Problems

Key Feature Questions/Problems assess clinical decision making and problem solving skills. They involve case presentations, consisting of a clinical scenario followed by two or more questions that focus only on the critical steps in handling the scenario. The scenarios may vary in length. A diagnostic scenario may be brief, whereas with critical steps focusing on interpreting test results, the scenario may be longer and contain information regarding history and physical examination.

Problems/computational questions

Problems/computational questions require students to solve problems, using calculations.

Short-answer questions (SAQs)

Short answer questions typically assess basic knowledge and understanding. A SAQ may require students to provide a short and quite specific answer (e.g. one word/fill in the blank), complete a sentence or construct a short response (e.g. ‘write an example’, ‘list three reasons’).

Extended or long-answer questions

Extended or long answer questions typically require students to demonstrate conceptual understanding and higher order thinking skills (e.g. analysis, evaluation) and may include essays, case study analyses and problem solving tasks.