Grammatical cues: where one or more distractors does not follow grammatically from the stem. For example, a stem ends in “an” and only some options begin with a vowel.
Logical cues: where a subset of options is logically exhaustive, indicating that the answer is one of the subset. For example, including the three options: “greater than,” “same as,” and” less than” in a five-option question. You will also not find logically exhaustive options when one of the options is nonsensical.
Absolute terms: terms such as “always” and “never,” which wise test-takers avoid, will not be used in this exam.
Long correct answers: options will be the same in construction and level of detail. Efforts are made to ensure that the correct answer is not longer, more specific, or more complex than the other options.
Word repeats: where the same word or phrase is included in both the stem and the correct answer.
Word association links: where the correct answer can be arrived at by simple word association without a deeper understanding of the topic. For example, Vietnam veteran and post-traumatic stress can be associated. However, in a diagnostic stem about a Vietnam veteran, the correct answer may well be some other condition.
Convergence strategy: where the correct answer includes most of the elements in common with the other options. For example, consider the following question:
The 16th president of the United States was
A. Julius Lincoln
B. Abraham Smith
C. Abraham Lincoln
D. Vladimir Lenin
E. Andrew Jackson