Tips for creating great quizzes, questions and answers, and a brilliant quiz experience

Creating a quiz offers huge opportunities to enrich your own life and the lives of the people who participate.

Quizzes are fun and engaging – individually, and for groups, teams and families.

Quizzes use enjoyment to promote education and exploration – self-development especially.  

Quizzes stimulate and enable learning and personal growth in ways that are very different from traditional education methods, mainly because of enjoyment and game-playing instincts in all of us. 

Learning is easier when it’s fun and enjoyable.  

 

Format of quizzes, questions and answers

Format and structure of quiz questions/answers, and the entire quiz,  are very important in designing good Q&A and quizzes.

The format and structure of quiz questions/answers and whole quizzes are different from the actual content or facts within a quiz.  

And format is different to structure. Format is bigger.

Structure might refer to whether a quiz question is multiple-choice, and how the question is written. Also perhaps to design ‘layout’ and the order or process of the quiz.

Format is bigger than this. Format includes structure and other aspects of a quiz such as its method of access (for example technology) and its target audience, and its scoring system (if applicable), and if the quiz uses pictures and other media such as music/sounds, or whether the quiz is simply based on word language, and whether it is interactive and connected with an online community…  all sorts of things beyond structure.

So, format is a bigger over-arching term than structure. Structure is within format, and so from now where I use the word ‘format’,  the word ‘format’ includes ‘structure’.

Obvious and important examples of different quiz/Q&A formats – which greatly influence the quiz/Q&A quality of experience and value – include:

  • yes/no or true/false answer (basically a multiple-choice between two options),
  • multiple-choice (more that two options and potentially more than one answer),
  • ‘open’ question (which can give problems for electronic/digital quiz design, for example via different spellings or wordings of correct answers, such as ‘world war two’ and ‘2nd World War’ –  or a mis-spelling of a challenging name such as ‘Nietzsche’)

And so a big aspect of format is that multiple choice and ‘yes/no’ formats are much easier to use in electronic/digital quizzes, especially where scoring and competition are entailed.

Quiz format also includes other aspects of how the quiz is organised or presented to people (how people access the quiz), for example:

  • using digital  technology,
  • or a traditional ‘pub-quiz’ format, with a ‘question-master’ (someone reading out the questions, and managing the quiz event)

 

Design the whole quiz experience

All elements of quiz format must be considered along with the actual quiz content.

Everything about the quiz must designed as a whole experience.

Here are some of the other important factors about a quiz design that form the whole quiz experience:

 

Tips for creating quiz Q&A and quizzes – for a great quiz experience

Here when I use the word ‘question’ this extends to the answer too – so that we consider the whole thing. 

  1. Educate – The best quiz questions educate people beyond simply giving a question and answer about a fact. So ask yourself: Does this question educate people as much as it could do? A good technique is to include some information in the question that educates and also acts a a clue.
  2. Engage – These days people are overwhelmed by communications of all sorts. So ask yourself: Does the  question grab attention? Is it as impactful as it could be? This means does it stand out as being different and perhaps surprising or unusual or funny?
  3. Reliability – Obviously a quiz question must be accurate and reliable – and this is especially relevant if you are using a question where the facts or answer might change over time. Also consider the different possible interpretations of words and language.   
  4. Fairness – Fairness means free of bias. We must be objective (free of opinion) when creating quiz questions and answers, and consider how the question will be interpreted and understood by different sorts of people. 
  5. Accessibility – Accessibility relates strongly to ‘Fairness’ and to ‘Audience’.  Can anyone engage with the question? Try to use simple language in the contextual wording of the question.
  6. Technology – Consider how people will do the quiz, for example digitally (screens) or ‘physically’ (paper). These days there are very many ways. You must consider this in its design, and in the guidance/instructions.  
  7. Audience – Consider who the quiz is aimed at, if it is not intended to be accessible to everyone (mindful of foreign language speakers). Ideally a quiz should be accessible to as many people as possible – across ages, ethnicities, abilities and education levels.
  8. Competition – Consider if your quiz has a competitive aspect. Is it to be scored? If so how? This relates to audience and technology.
  9. Sensitivity – Consider whether each question is potentially upsetting or offensive, or simply badly timed. There is huge potential for humour and laughter in quizzes. Where we use this we must be sensitive to people’s reactions. 

Thanks for reading this,

We are always open to other ideas, suggestions and feedback.