What are multiple choice questions? A comprehensive guide

What are multiple choice questions? You might think you know all there is about MCQs, but there’s more beneath the surface than meets the eye.


What are multiple choice questions? You might think you know all there is about MCQs, but there’s more beneath the surface than meets the eye.

Yes, you heard that right!

These simple-looking questions are more than just picking an option.

So let’s understand what are multiple choice questions, break down their structure & types, and dive into their benefits.

Without any Jibber Jabber, let’s get started!

What are multiple choice questions?

Imagine you’re at an ice cream shop, and the shopkeeper asks you which flavor of ice cream you want. He provides you with 4 options:

  • Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • Mint Chip
  • Vanilla

You will either select one flavor or more than one, right?

Just like this, multiple-choice questions provide you with different answer options to choose from. These questions are used to gather information or feedback from the target audience.

In some cases, only one answer is correct from the list of multiple options provided, while in others, you could choose more than one answer.

There are different types of multiple choice questions. We will discuss them later in the article.

But where exactly do you come across these types of questions?

Well, you will typically see this format of questioning in:

Now with a clearer understanding of multiple choice questions, let’s dive a little deeper and learn about the different parts of MCQs and their structure.

Parts of multiple choice questions

Essentially, there are 3 main parts of multiple choice questions. Let’s break them down one by one.

Question or Problem statement

This is the first part of any MCQ, which contains a problem statement or a question that the respondent has to answer. It is also referred to as stem. Stem could also be an incomplete statement that you want your respondent to complete.

Incorrect answer

This part consists of incorrect options. In most cases, you will see 3-4 incorrect options in a multiple-choice question.

It is also called a distractor because organizations that conduct competitive exams or quizzes want to distract or challenge their respondents with incorrect answers.

Correct answer

This part contains the actual answer to the original problem statement or question asked. There could be one or many correct answers depending on the type of MCQ.

Now that we are done with the anatomy of MCQs, it’s time to understand the top 5 types of multiple choice questions that you’ll come across.

Top 5 types of multiple choice questions

There are several different types of multiple choice questions. However, we are going to cover the top 5 commonly used ones in this guide.

These MCQs can be used for a variety of purposes depending on your needs and the nature of the information you want to collect.

No. 1 ⇒ Single answer multiple choice question

Single-answer MCQs require the respondent to select only 1 appropriate answer from the given range of options. Usually, in most MCQs, the respondent has 2-4 options to select from.

These types of questions are Ideal for pinpointing a specific preference or decision. They simplify the response process, especially on digital devices like smartphones and tablets.

Since they are simple and direct, it makes them ideal for a lot of purposes like educational tests, customer surveys, etc.

No. 2 ⇒ Multi answer multiple choice questions

These questions are the opposite of single-answer MCQs, allowing respondents to choose one or more than one answer from a given set of options. You may also select all the options depending on the question asked.

It’s like a buffet where you are allowed to choose a variety of dishes to create a personalized meal.

Multi-answer MCQs are best for situations requiring a more nuanced understanding of preferences or opinions.

For example, in a feedback survey, participants can tick all satisfactory services. This provides companies with more comprehensive insights into the customer experience.

No. 3 ⇒ Image-based multiple choice questions

In Image-based MCQs, you need to select images as your response instead of text. Image-based MCQs are of two types:

  • Single Answer Image Based MCQs, where you need to select only one image as your response
  • Multi Answer image MCQs where you can select one or more images as your response

These questions add a dynamic and interactive element to surveys and quizzes. They make the process more engaging and intuitive.

They are particularly used in domains where visual context is key. You must have seen these types of multiple choice questions while solving CAPTCHAs online.

No. 4 ⇒ Star rating multiple choice questions

Star-based questions provide a visually intuitive and interactive way for respondents to express their level of satisfaction or preference.

They use a star scale, typically ranging from 1-5, where 1 star being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

These questions are perfect for quick, at-a-glance feedback. Companies use them to find out how satisfied their customers are with their products or services. You may have come across a star-based MCQ after ordering food or buying something online.

No. 5 ⇒ Binary multiple choice questions

Binary MCQs simplify the decision-making for the respondents. You have to select 1 option from 2 given choices, hence the name binary.

Binary multiple choice questions examples include:

  • “Do you prefer coffee over tea?”
  • “Is the Earth larger than Mars?”
  • “Would you recommend our product to others?”

The 2 given options could be in the form of “Yes/No”, “True/False”, “Like/Dislike”, etc.

Apart from these, there are other types of multiple choice questions as well, like:

  • Matrix Table
  • Rank Order
  • Drag and Drop Multiple Choice Questions
  • Slider Multiple Choice Questions

Advantages of multiple choice questions

Following are a few benefits of multiple choice questions:

They save time and are easy to analyze

Whether it’s the person making MCQs or the one answering them, they save significant time for both parties involved.

From the respondent’s perspective, they don’t have to write their answers out manually to submit their responses. They simply have to select an appropriate option and click submit.

From the creator’s perspective, they don’t have to bear the hassle of analyzing responses.

It’s a win-win for both, isn’t it?

Provide clarity

Have you ever seen a road sign pointing in various directions, each clearly guiding people to their desired destinations?

Multiple-choice questions are exactly like that. With different options, they provide clarity to the respondents so that they can select precise and relevant answers.

They are designed with touchscreens in mind

Around 85% of the people in the world have a smartphone or a tablet these days. And the good news is that the MCQs are a perfect fit for these devices.

They are easy to navigate, easy to understand, and easy to answer on touchscreen devices.

These were some of the key advantages of multiple choice questions. Let’s move forward and understand what you need to remember when creating multiple choice questions.

Things to consider when creating multiple choice questions

Focus on clarity

Before designing multiple choice questions, make sure you have a clear understanding of the questions you’re asking.

Don’t create vague or ambiguous questions.

Diversify question types

Why not mix things up a bit? You may consider creating a variety of question types in your MCQs.

This approach engages both the conscious and subconscious minds of your respondents.

Use a tool to elevate the experience

The best way to create MCQs is by using a no-code tool like Formaloo. Formaloo can not only help you create MCQs that your target audience will eagerly interact with. But it will also save you valuable time and effort.

Create MCQs like a pro!

And there you have it!

We hope this guide has informed you about the ins and outs of what are multiple choice questions, their complexities, and their applications.

With this knowledge, you’re now ready to start creating multiple-choice questions.

Don’t forget to use a no-code tool like Formaloo to make this process 10x exciting and faster.

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What are multiple choice questions? A comprehensive guide