Examination papers have until now received little attention in the field of document design. This text type was identified as a possible source of academic underachievement among a group of South African technical college students from certain cultural and educational backgrounds. In this contribution examination papers are situated within a general model for problem-based text evaluation, representative of current thinking in document design. At a more specific level criteria from the domain of education are identified and validated. These criteria are mapped onto the textual elements of documents (content, structure, style and presentation) and represented in an evaluation matrix. The applicability of the matrix as a diagnostic tool is demonstrated through the analysis of a selection of examples from national examination papers for career-oriented college subjects. It is suggested that any pretesting - text-focused, expert-focused or reader-focused - be preceded by thorough planning, taking cognizance of the macro-context of problem-based document design, elements of the micro-context as outlined above, and appropriate research methods. The outcomes should yield useful dividends of a practical as well as an academic nature.