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Online tests or quizzes consist of a series of questions which are usually completed online in real-time (i.e. during a short pre-defined time period). Commonly associated with MCQs (multiple choice questions), they can include a range of question types including fill-in-the-blank, true/false, calculations, hotspot and short answer questions. 

Typically used to…. 

  • assess ‘lower order’ thinking skills such as acquisition of knowledge, basic comprehension and application of some skills (e.g. calculations) 
  • for revision purposes. Students’ marks can be provided automatically, giving immediate feedback on progress. 
  • for diagnostic assessment. Immediate feedback enables students and lecturers to track a students’ progress and identify areas for attention. 

Key considerations when preparing for tests/quizzes

When preparing for, or doing tests or quizzes, always refer to the guidelines and requirements provided by your lecturer, keeping the following points in mind:  

  • Is the test/quiz being used for formative or summative assessment purposes (or both!) 
  • If the test/quiz contributes to your final grade (i.e. is being used for summative assessment), how much is it worth? 
  • Is it a multiple choice test or will you have to write/type open answers? What criteria is being used to assess your open answers? Has a rubric been provided? 
  • What topics are included in the test? How many questions? How long will you have? 
  • Are there any sample tests you can use to practice? 
  • To prepare, it can be useful to compile the key information from each week or lecture. That includes key definitions, formulae, examples, key authors. 
  • Plan your strategy for during the test: do you need a spare page, calculator or reference material? 
  • Work out how much time you will be able to spend  on each question and stick to it as best you can. 


Trinity-supported tools:  

The Test/Quiz tool is accessible through Blackboard

External tools (unsupported by Trinity):  

A student perspective on tests/quizzes


Preparation for Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) Exam

This article from University College Cork provides useful tips for preparing to take MCQ-based assessments.

Mastering multiple choice question exams

This blog post from the University of Bath provides a list of top tips to help you develop key skills in completing multiple choice questions (MCQs) and succeeding in your assessment.

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