What is the proper name for these type of questions? These are the questions like the 'Fastest Fingers First' questions in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Can you call them 'ordering' questions or 'order the answers' questions or is there a proper name?

I found the following names for other types:

  • Simple answer: when you have no choices, you have to type or tell.
  • Multiple Choice: when you have to choose one.
  • True/False: when you have to decide if the information given is right or wrong.
  • What you are calling "simple answer" is what I think I've usually heard called "short answer". Or if it calls for a long answer, an "essay question".
    – Jay
    Mar 5, 2012 at 20:22
  • Or "open question". Mar 5, 2012 at 20:57

3 Answers 3


These are sometimes referred to as ordering questions. For example (from a help guide for the Blackboard™ Learning Management System):

Ordering Questions

Ordering questions require students to provide an answer by selecting the correct order of a series of items. For example, you can give students a list of historical events and ask them to place these events in chronological order.

Some purists will point out that an ordering question is simply a special kind of a matching question. For example, you might have an ordering question that reads:

Rank the following from earliest to latest:

  • a) signing of the Treaty of Ghent
  • b) signing of the Declaration of Independence
  • c) signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • d) signing of the Magna Carta

This is essentially a much "cleaner" way of asking:

Match the items in the top list with the correct description in the bottom list:

  • 1) signing of the Treaty of Ghent
  • 2) signing of the Declaration of Independence
  • 3) signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • 4) signing of the Magna Carta

  • a) the earliest of the four events
  • b) the second-earliest of the four events
  • c) the secondmost-recent of the four events
  • d) the most recent of the four events

(although, from a technical standpoint, the two questions are essentially the same).

  • c should be "the penultimate event" and b "the antepenultimate event". english.stackexchange.com/questions/58959/…
    – Jay
    Mar 5, 2012 at 20:19
  • Well, maybe, but you could make that kind of quibble about other types, too. Like isn't true/false a special case of multiple choice, where the choices are true and false?
    – Jay
    Mar 5, 2012 at 20:21
  • @Jay: Absolutely. I only mentioned it because some academicians find that to be an interesting viewpoint, and EL&U seems to have a lot of members from that profession. No "quibbling" was intended; just an incidental footnote.
    – J.R.
    Mar 5, 2012 at 20:44
  • Thanks for the comments and answers. The other two are also valid answers but I can accept only one. :)
    – Herrbert74
    Mar 6, 2012 at 17:30

Maybe you could call it a "sequencing question".


I’d call it a ranking question.

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