How to write good Essay Questions

Essay questions - you either love them or you hate them. There is no in between! These require written responses, which can consist of a few short paragraphs to thousands of words.

Also known as: long answer, open ended, subjective

Use Essay Questions to Assess:

  • Comprehension of material learned
  • Writing skills
  • Evaluation
  • Analysis
  • User's ability to organize facts and ideas
  • Vocabulary
  • Problem Solving

Question Usage Ideas:

  • Gain Feedback
  • Gather information
  • Comparison of two items
  • Discussion

Advantages of Essay Questions:

  • Test takers can elaborate and provide detailed answers
  • Test takers are not able to guess and select an answer
  • Can review individualized responses from each user
  • Can be used for all types of subjects
  • Takes less time to create questions

Disadvantages of Essay Questions:

  • Takes longer to grade on paper
  • Graded manually online
  • Take longer to answer
  • Can be graded unfairly
  • Questions can be read differently resulting in not being able to answer correctly
  • Will not cover as much varied content in a Test as other question types
  • A user's writing skills could affect what they are trying to express


Tips for creating Essay Questions

  • Only add a few essay questions per Test
  • Keep essay questions per Test specific to one or two topics
  • Ask the question in your own words
  • Leave opinions at home when grading
  • Inform users ahead of time of how grading will be completed
  • Provide customized feedback per student
  • Make the question clear
  • Use directives such as “Compare”, “Identify”, “Explain”, “Describe”, “Define”
  • Show the points an essay questions is worth.
  • Provide instructions on how in depth and detailed you want in an answer.
ClassMarker Pro Tips

Become a ClassMarker Guru: Pro Tips

Essay Question Features in

You're a Pro if You Know:

  • After grading essay Questions, Test scores will be automatically adjusted
  • You can add custom feedback for both correct/incorrect answers
  • How to give individualized feedback per essay question per user
  • Essay Questions are manually graded