Thanks, Torsten. Here is my take on these sample quiz questions:
Legendary King Arthur #1– It should better read 'According to novels and movies, the … King Arthur led Britain against the/its Saxon invaders. There is no need to have all answers begin with the same letter, especially when it forces choices which are not English words (‘legatos’) or which are not so attractive distractors (‘legacies’). The topic is good, but the answer choices do not offer a real challenge to advanced students.
Robinson Crusoe #1– ‘In the novel, Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe, its eponymous hero must use his … to survive more than 25 years on a remote island.’ I suggest that the vocabulary and sentence structure be upgraded to an advanced level by building more complex sentences and more sophisticated vocabulary. Good topic again.
Cleopatra #1– ‘Cleopatra’s beauty was renowned, but perhaps simply in romantic tales. Evidence from coins and sculpture suggests that the stories of her … looks were inaccurate.’ It was not the tales that were renowned (note spelling), but her beauty. ‘Enchains’ is not an attractive distractor; it is a 3rd person singular present verb.
Solving Genetic Mysteries #1– The 3 distractors are simply not alluring to an advanced student. I can sympathize with the selection of ‘molehill’, however; it is tempting, after writing dozens of questions, to throw in a joke or two. As with the previous quizzes above, the writer has expended too much energy trying to think of words that begin with ‘m’. This is only one minor technique for balancing the impact of distractors; other factors like similar meanings-- and certainly, similar parts of speech-- are much more important, particularly for intermediate and advanced questions.
Inventor of the Light Bulb #1– ‘In 1865, two American inventors, Thomas Edison and Hiram Maxim, were competing in a race to patent electric lighting. Businessmen were making use of / engaged in / exploring … to make their fortunes.’ I feel that ‘especially interested in’ does not quite catch the attitude…but I also am unsure of the correct answer. I presume that ‘enterprise’ is meant, but I think an argument could also be made for ‘entrepreneurship’. ‘Evocative’ is too obviously an adjective.
The Discovery of America #1– I’m not sure that ‘large’ is the best collocation with ‘fallacy’; I would use ‘major’ or ‘great’.
Again, these are all good topics. Succeeding questions, if they are to challenge advanced students, really need to be constructed in more complex sentences, with more subordinate clauses and subtler differences in distractors. I cannot comment on all ‘advanced’ students, of course, but for Asian students of English, these are intermediate questions at most.