I came across a multiple choice exam paper where the professor had included a funny fifth option in almost every question. There was also a bonus question at the end, where students can earn 0.5 extra points for writing their own humorous multiple choice question.
It was the final examination of a bachelor-level course, though I have no reason to believe that the professor does not do the same in master-level exam papers as well.
For example, the fifth option for one of the questions was, “I don’t know, but a vanilla latte would be perfect right now.” Another one was, “Come one man, stop it with these lame jokes.” On a question regarding why someone might have a conditioned taste aversion to sushi, the fifth option was, “They certainly did not try sushi from [popular local sushi place].”
The exam papers I saw were those of students who had done well in the exam, and they seemed to appreciate the humor, since they provided their own funny question at the end for the extra 0.5 points. However, I did not get the chance to see the rest of the papers.
Also, the questions did not cause any disruption during the exam itself. No student was visibly laughing or trying to communicate with another student.
On the one hand, I myself find this hilarious and it seems others, including students, find it too. It might help lighten up the mood and ease anxiety during the exam.
However, I am afraid that it might be a distraction, especially since it was not a single joke but a running joke throughout most of the questions in the 33-question exam. Students might lose time reading these responses, or they may feel that the professor is belittling what is otherwise an important and serious exam for them. Is this, perhaps, unprofessional?