Survey on Correct Response Position in Multiple Choice Tests: A Descriptive Study


Abdolhussein shakurnia 1 , * , Hossein Elhampour 2

1 M.Sc. in Immunology, Instructor, Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran, Iran

2 M.Sc. in Educational Sciences, Instructor, Department of Educational Sciences, School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran, Iran

How to Cite: shakurnia A, Elhampour H . Survey on Correct Response Position in Multiple Choice Tests: A Descriptive Study, Strides Dev Med Educ. 2015 ; 12(2):e59350.


Strides in Development of Medical Education: 12 (2); e59350
Published Online: June 28, 2015
Article Type: Research Article
Received: August 02, 2017
Accepted: March 14, 2015




Background & Objective: One of the issues of multiple choice tests is preparation of effective distracter options and position of the correct answer among the distractor options. The aim of this study was to determine the position of the correct option in multiple choice tests in Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Iran, in 2013.
Methods: In this descriptive study, 214 exams, which were entered into the automated service center of the university, were studied in respect to the position of the correct answer. Data were analyzed using SPSS software and frequency, percentage, and chi-square test.
Results: In general, 14,359 multiple choice questions were investigated. The position of the correct answer was the A option in 2260 questions (15.7%), the B option in 3893 question (27.1%), the C option in 4683 question (32.6%), and the D option in 3523 questions (24.6%). Chi-square test showed statistically significant difference between of the correct answer in options of A, B, C, and D (P = 0.001). The highest percentage of correct answers was in option C, and the lowest percentage of correct answer was in option A. The findings of the study also revealed that the percentage of the correct answer in the middle options (B and C) was significantly higher than other options (A and D) (59.7% V 40.3%, P = 0.001).
Conclusion: The results showed that the distribution of correct choices between options of multiple choice tests performed in the university is not suitable. Random selection of the correct options is recommended as a suitable approach to avoiding this problem.


Multiple choice test Distracter options Position of correct option

© 2015, Medical Education Development Center. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.



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