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Sometimes in life there just is a right answer. That’s where the multiple choice quiz comes into play. “Could you pass the U.S. citizenship test?” “How much do you really know about the world cup?” these are just a few of the many ways multiple choice quizzes can be used.
In this guide I’ll walk you through the do’s and dont’s for each component of multiple choice quizzes and then give a few examples of excellent ones to get the creative juices flowing.
Part 1: The elements of a multiple choice quiz
Quiz topics. I always tell people the key to coming up with a topic is knowing who your audience are. You don’t need everyone in the world to take your quiz, and the chances of that happening are 0 (sorry). What you do need is for some people to care deeply enough about your quiz to take it and share with friends. Here are a few ways to identify the things your audience cares about.
- Questions. People will email you questions. Don’t just write them off as idiosyncrasies in the product or service you are running. Think about the questions that are being asked, some of them can be turned into quizzes.
- Common interests. When Portland Monthly Magazine created a quiz “What’s your Portland IQ?” and shared it out, they knew that anyone who had ever lived in the city would be interested in that quiz. The result was more than 2500 social shares and 20,000 quiz takers on the quiz. Identify common threads in your readers and write a quiz towards one.
Quiz titles. Your quiz title is the reason 80% of people will click (or not click) on your quiz. We truly are shallow people. Needless to say, spend some time writing your title. Not to fear, we ran crunched some numbers and found that these types of titles work best.
- The “actually” title. “How much do you actually know about beer?” this one is fun because it turns a simple facts-based quiz into a challenge. Instead of just “test your soccer knowledge” you now get “How much do you actually know about the world cup?”
- “Could you pass the?” title. Some of the most successful quizzes created to date have been of this form. “Could you pass the U.S. citizenship test?” took on extraordinary traffic and really opened a lot of people’s eyes. This one has been applied to the Bar exam, driver’s test, and a whole slew of other things.
- “See how much you really know about” title. Again, this is a simple test of knowledge, but adding the word really makes it come off as a challenge. When people are presented with challenges, our natural instinct to fight comes out and we get a rush of adrenaline.
Quiz questions. Think of your quiz questions as a conversation with each quiz taker. This is your chance to create a connection with each person who takes your quiz. Unlike most forms of content, quizzes are a one-to-one medium where you get the opportunity to speak directly with someone on your website. Here are a few ways to make the most of that chance.
- Let your quirkiness shine. We all have things about us that make us unique. A sense of humor, a way of telling stories – let those things be present in your quiz questions. The best way to build a connection is by opening up.
- Be conversational. A quiz is a two-way chat between you and hundreds or thousands of other people who take your quiz. Keep that in mind and make your questions open-ended.
- Open up the floor. Whenever possible, keep your questions shorter and make the answers longer. Everyone loves talking about themselves, so let people do that on your quiz.
Quiz results. The nice thing about interact is that we’ll automatically calculate which answers the quiz taker got right and wrong and display a nice printout of that. The piece we can’t control is what you tell the quiz taker. For example “you are a genius!” (plus picture and description). Here are some guidelines to get that part right.
- Be nice. Even if someone doesn’t score well, don’t tell them they are not smart or need to rethink their life. After all this is a simple quiz that’s meant to entertain.
- Be honest. Despite the previous point, you want to make sure and tell the truth with your result. If you try to tell every person they are super knowledgeable when they aren’t your quiz will lose credibility.
- Keep it relatively short. Yes, your quiz takers will want to know what their score means, no they won’t want to read an essay you wrote about it. In general, try to stay under 250 words of explanation for your quiz.
Sharing. The general key for sharing is that you need to be ready for sharing. Make sure your quiz is set up in a way that rewards people for sharing. For example, the formula for sharing will go like this “I got (my result)(title of the quiz)” so for example “I got genius – what’s your IQ?”
Part 2: Excellent multiple choice quizzes to learn from
Which diet is real? This is one of my personal favorites because there are so many insane diet programs out their today. The quiz describes various diets and asks you if the diet is real or made up. At the end of the quiz you are prompted to click through and find out how you did at the host’s website.
This quiz not only piques my curiosity with its title, but also follows through with very goofy question styles and entertaining results. The quiz maker opted to not include the correct answers to the quiz in their results, choosing to rather redirect people to a page on the main website. This is an excellent way to drive traffic back to pages that explain your quiz in more detail.
When all was said and done this quiz was taken more than 50,000 times and featured in The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and more than 25 other news outlets. By requiring quiz takers to go back to the SenseAboutScience website to see the correct answers they effectively corralled a lot of traffic from those big news sites to turn those readers into subscribers.
Spot the correct shark by Sarasotafins Conservatory Group. Sharks are awesome, but contrary to popular belief there are not that many of them in the world. Sarasota Fins wanted a fun way to raise awareness about the shrinking shark population and they turned to a multiple choice quiz.
The quiz is awesome, it shows you two pictures of sharks and asks you which one is which. Who doesn’t like looking at pictures of sharks? It’s awesome. There’s really not many words in the entire quiz, and it’s nice and short, just ten questions with two choices each. When you reach the end of the quiz, you are given a score, a brief synopsis of how you did, and the correct answers highlighted in green.
That completes my roundup of multiple choice quizzes. This guide will help make sure you get the basics right, but the real magic of quizzes comes from you putting your own personal spin on things. The points above are really to make sure you get the important aspects all included so you can focus on being creative. Multiple choice quizzes can really boost engagement, leads, and traffic, make a quiz for free at Interact
— Kane Murphy (@kanemurphy) July 30, 2014