Exam Item Guidelines and Resources


Test Item Guidelines and Resources 


Test Items are expected to be in the USMLE-board-style format, as exemplified by the Test Item Guidelines below.


Exam Items and Assessments:

  • All SOM computer-based preclinical module assessments are administered through Undergraduate Medical Education (UME). 
  • Module Directors and Clinical Co-Directors should provide teaching faculty in their respective module with guidance as to the construction of test items within particular content areas in a module.  
  • All faculty participating in the SOM preclinical modules submit test items to the respective Module Director and Clinical Co-Director.  Module and Clinical Co-Directors will be responsible for the review and assembly of test items for examinations.
  • Module and Clinical Co-Directors should coordinate with UME in a timely fashion for the assembly, delivery, and analysis of assessments for each SOM module.  

 Test Item Guidelines and Resources:

  • UME Test Item Writing Workshop Materials:  Presentation by Dr. Cathy Fuller.  The basic rules and many of the examples in this presentation were taken from Constructing Written Test Questions for the Basic and Clinical Sciences, 3rd edition, published by the National Board of Medical Examiners.  Presentation (PDF) and Video Presentation (MP4).

Test Item Analysis


Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) provides test-item analysis and scoring services to Module Directors and Clinical Co-Directors for all SOM computer-based preclinical module assessments.  Module Directors and Clinical Co-Directors may review new and archived test items as well as previous item statistics in constructing assessments.


USMLE Test Item Resources


The following information is provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners who administer the United States Licensing Examination (USMLE) as a supplemental, more in-depth resource for faculty in writing and modifying test questions.


Test Item Assistance or Questions


Faculty instructors who need assistance or have specific questions with writing board-style test items in a module should contact the respective Module Director and Clinical Co-Director for the module in which the faculty instructor is participating.  

Dr. John Caldwell in the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education is also available to help answer questions and assist course directors with assessments in their courses.