Asee peer logo

Mixing Exam Formats To Enhance Examination Learning And Test Taking Skills

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Tools of Teaching and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.858.1 - 8.858.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Maher Murad

author page

Robert Martinazzi

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1531


Maher M. Murad, Robert Martinazzi

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


The concept of Mixing Exam Formats (MEF) was developed to enhance student learning beyond the exam and to train students to become more familiar with the Fundamental of Engineering (FE) and the Civil Engineering Professional Exam (PE) multiple-choice exam formats. Under this concept, the exam is graded such that each student gets two scores: the first is called “Objective Score” which is based only on grading the multiple choices. The second score “Traditional Score” is based on the traditional grading of the detailed solution. The instructor returns the exams having graded the “Objective” portion. If an “Objective” answer is incorrect the students are required to thoroughly analyze their own work to determine where they made specific errors and why the correct answer was not determined. Students report their findings in a report. The instructor grades the reports and gives a final grade which is a combination of the two scores.

The use of MEF concept helps students understand the material covered in the exam while also improving their test taking skills especially choosing the most correct answer. The concept allows students to identify and eliminate their mistakes. This paper covers the details associated with the concept development, implementation, and student responses of using the MEF concept as a method to extend the learning beyond examination and as a tool that will train students to be more effective when taking the FE and PE exams.


Professors use a variety of examination formats to evaluate student learning. Traditional exams usually require detailed solutions in problem-solving exams. The Fundamental of Engineering (FE) and recently the Civil Engineering Principles and Practice Exam (PE) use only multiple- choice format and are considered “Objective Exams”. It is essential for practicing civil engineers to take and pass the PE exam to become professional engineers. No design can be accepted or implemented without being stamped by a professional engineer. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) develops PE examinations that are taken by engineers for licensure as professional engineers. (1)

In the academic environment, the choice of exam format and the method of grading the exam greatly affect the effectiveness of the exam in its attempt to evaluate student learning. Also, depending on how the exam is written as “Objective” or Traditional”, it can become a valuable tool for extending leaning beyond the examination. Exams are usually the basis to evaluate how

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Murad, M., & Martinazzi, R. (2003, June), Mixing Exam Formats To Enhance Examination Learning And Test Taking Skills Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12049

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015