Good questions vs Bad questions: A critical Analysis

Let's analyze the questions given here about DNA:

1. How many chromosome pairs make up the human genome
a) 23
b) 24
c) 12

One may argue this question is memory based, but it's not. It is one of the fundamental questions that a student has to memorize it.

After you have chosen to answer, its gives the feedback, why you are wrong or right. This is the most important step.

2. Your genes could influence your choice of partner, true or false?
a) True
b) False

Look at the question, even if you don't know the answer, the question makes you curious to know the answer. It gives us knowledge about whether gene influences your choice of partner or not. It is very related to our real life.

Again its give a feedback.
Genetic variation influences one’s choice of partner. The genetic correlation between height and the preference for a partner with similar height shows that genes affecting individual preferences for height and one’s own height are largely shared.
The answer justifies how, by giving the reason which we are aware of.

Now look at this question?
3. A nucleic acid sequence is a succession of letters that indicate the order of nucleotides within a DNA or RNA molecule. When was the first complete nucleotide sequence of a genome sequenced?
1) 1976
2) 1995
3) 2007

Ok, let's change the options to
e.g. 1) 1976
       2) 1977
      3) 1975

So, what the difference between the two questions, the second one is very difficult to crack and will rely upon only your memory, but the first one requires your knowledge.
See that the options in first one, the years are widely spaced, it requires our understanding how earlier or how recent first complete nucleotide sequence of a genome sequenced. So you will try to attempt the question, think about it if you have some knowledge about it. But for the second question, you will not even try to attempt it.

Now next question:

4. Genomic characterization of tumors for diseases like ESCC is likely to reveal additional oncogenic mechanisms. What is ESSC?
 a) Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
 b) Esophageal squamous cell cancer
c) Esophageal Stage III cell carcinoma

Let's change the question. What if you are only asked what is ESSC? Removing the first statement. (Genomic characterization of tumors for diseases like ESCC is likely to reveal additional oncogenic mechanisms.) The question becomes only a junk for the reader. The first statement gives you an idea about what ESSC is. Its gives a background knowledge about ESSC. So, even if you don't know the answer, you will want it to know.

Do look at the course on
Writing Exams for Science and Engineering Courses


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