Welcome to the writer's forum

Hello everyone, this forum is the place where test writers and editors exchange ideas on new materials before they go online.

Here is the first set of tests to be reviewed:
english-test.net/esl/learn/e … 846/?ad=no
english-test.net/esl/learn/e … 845/?ad=no
english-test.net/esl/learn/e … 844/?ad=no
english-test.net/esl/learn/e … 843/?ad=no
english-test.net/esl/learn/e … 841/?ad=no
english-test.net/esl/learn/e … 840/?ad=no[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Sky diving[YSaerTTEW443543]

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.


There are a couple of points I’d like to make:

  1. Should we give the choices in the same form - if an adjective is needed then all the choices should be adjectives?

  2. On the positive side I am wholeheartedly in favour of a test having continuity- that the ten statements are all related either to the same story or topic rather than a random list of 10 sentences.


1-- At intermediate or advanced, certainly. Students have enough experience to recognize all the common affixes, particularly.

2-- Me, too! The problem comes when a test’s topic is only one phrasal verb (break in/out/off/through), for instance, or a similar limiting condition, which usually makes it difficult to construct realistic text. On the other hand, continuity suggests that information from one question should be applicable to another. This requires much more consideration in construction than isolated questions do.

Hi everyone,

I think in the future we should first correct all mistakes all our new tests before we publish them. Here are a number of mistakes that were spotted in Sandra’s tests:
english-test.net/forum/ftopi … tml#279441
english-test.net/forum/ftopi … tml#279440[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: An assistant lecturer talking to a new student[YSaerTTEW443543]

OK, but how do we go about doing that, Torsten? Shall we post our tests here in this forum and await a response before copying and pasting to our Author Tools? Or are you just talking about reading our own writing carefully before publishing?

Hi Charles,

We should implement the following process:

  1. A writer creates a new test in the online tool.
  2. The writer posts the link of the new test here in the forum. (The link/new test can only be viewed by those moderators who have access to this part of the forum.)
  3. We as a team suggest changes to and corrections of the test which are implemented.
  4. The test goes online.

What do you think of this approach?

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation in a professor’s office between a professor and a student[YSaerTTEW443543]

Suggestions in a post here, then? Sounds good.

Each test on a new thread? Will we get notice of new threads in this forum?

Yes, one test per thread and you will be notified of new tests/threads via email.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between two university instructors[YSaerTTEW443543]

Thank you for your input regarding using "The " before “Lengendary King Authur… I believe it is an unnecessary article as there was only ONE king Author and is not needed to make the statement clear. For example: " I am going to Macy’s Department Store to shop” or if it is not a particular store then using “the” would be correct. The same would be true in using “Saxon Invaders.” The reader would have not confusion in knowing who the invaders were… They were Saxon Invaders.

I am continuing to edit writings.


I typed too fast! The sentence should read, "The reader would not have confusion in knowing… "

I take your argument, Sandra, but I think many learners would be unfamiliar with both the legendary King Arthur and his Saxon invaders.

Good morning Sandra. I have to agree with Mr.M. “The” would appear to be essential before Legendary King Arthur, but certainly not before Macy’s store.