Incorporating Patient Characteristics in Test Items

Posted November 11, 2022

The NBME Item-Writing Guide is a complementary resource that helps faculty members across health professions improve the quality of the multiple-choice items they write for their examinations. This guide is based on lessons that NBME staff have learned from decades of developing exam items and leading workshops in the field.

Within the guide, you can find suggestions for appropriately including patient characteristics within case vignettes in test items. Use this one-pager as an on-hand reference for some of these considerations when creating items.

For more best practices on item writing, download the full NBME Item-Writing Guide or sign up for an Item-Writing Workshop.

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