How to Make Your Quiz a Roaring Success in 2021 (in just 4 Steps!)

13 min readJan 19, 2021

If we’re going to remember 2020 for anything, let it be online quizzes. Online quiz fever spread around the world like some sort of unnamed airborne virus, enthralling players and leaving them with one burning question:

How do I make a quiz like a pro?

AhaSlides have been in the quiz business (the ‘quizness’) since before quiz fever and other various infections took over the world. We’ve written a super quick AhaGuide to making a quiz in 4 simple steps, with 15 tips to reach a quizzing triumph!

Your Guide to Making a Quiz

  • When to Throw a Quiz
  • Step 1 — Choose your Structure
  • Step 2 — Choose your Questions
  • Step 3 — Make it Interesting
  • Step 4 — Present Like a Pro!
  • Need More Quizspiration?

When to Throw a Quiz

There are certain situations where quizzes, virtual or live, just seem tailor made for the festivities…

At Work — It’s likely we’ll be getting together with colleagues online for a while longer. As remote working soars in popularity, so too does the need for team bonding quizzes.

We’ve got the ultimate guide for a virtual company party, as well as ideas for remote team ice breakers and virtual team meetings.

At Christmas — Christmasses come and go, but quizzes are here to stay for future holidays. Having experienced such an uptake in interest in 2020, we’re seeing quizzes as the quintessential quizmas activity from 2021 onwards.

Click on the links here to download our family, work, music, picture or movie Christmas quizzes for free! (Skip to the end of this article to see previews before downloading).

Weekly, at the Pub — Once we’re all back in pubs, we’ll have one more reason to celebrate. 2020’s quiz technology improvements are set to make the dependable pub quiz a true multi-media spectacular in years to come.

Boozing and quizzing? Sign us up. Here’s some advice and inspiration on running a virtual pub quiz.

Low-key Night in — Who doesn’t love a night in? 2020 taught us that we don’t need to leave our homes to experience meaningful social interaction. Quizzes can be an excellent addition to a weekly virtual games night, movie night or beer tasting night!

Step 1 — Choose your Structure

Before you start anything, you’ll need to define the structure that your quiz will take. By this, we mean…

  • How many rounds will you have?
  • What will the rounds be?
  • In what order will the rounds be?
  • Will there be a bonus round?

Though most of these questions are straightforward, quiz masters naturally get stuck on the 2nd one. Figuring out what rounds to include is never easy, but here’s a few tips to make it easier:

#1 — Mix General and Specific

We’d say about 75% of your quiz should be ‘general rounds’. General knowledge, news, music, geography, science & nature — these are all great ‘general’ rounds that require no specialised knowledge. As a rule, if you learned about it in school, it’s a general round.

That leaves 25% of your quiz for ‘specific rounds’, in other words, those specialised rounds that you don’t have a class for in school. We’re talking topics like football, Harry Potter, celebrities, books, Marvel and so on. Not everyone will be able to answer every question, but these will be great rounds for some.

#2 — Have Some Personal Rounds

If you know your quiz players well, like if they’re friends or family, you can have entire rounds based on them and their escapades. Here’s a few examples:

  • Who’s this? — Ask for baby pictures of each player and ask the others to guess who it is.
  • Who said it? — Crawl through your friends’ Facebook walls and pick out the most embarrassing posts — put them in your quiz and ask who posted them.
  • Who drew it? — Get your players to draw a concept, like ‘luxury’ or ‘judgement’, then send you their drawings. Upload each image to your quiz and ask who drew them.

There’s so much you can do for a personal round. The potential for hilarity is high in pretty much anything you opt for.

#3 — Try a Few Puzzle Rounds

Online software is positively pulsating with opportunities for some wacky, outside the box rounds. Puzzle rounds are a nice break from the typical quiz format and offer something unique to test the brain in a different way.

Here’s a few puzzle rounds we’ve had success with before:

Name it in Emojis

In this one, you play a song or show a picture and get players to write the name in emojis.

You can do this by offering a multiple choice of emojis or by getting players to type the emojis in themselves. In the leaderboard slide after the quiz slide, you can change the title to the correct answer and see who got it right!

Zoomed In Images

Here, players guess what the full image is from a zoomed-in segment.

Start by uploading a picture to a pick answer or type answer quiz slide and cropping the image to a small section. In the leaderboard slide directly afterwards, set the full image as the background image.

Word Scramble

A quiz classic, this one. Players simply have to unscramble the correct answer from an anagram.

Just write out an anagram of the answer (use an anagram site to make it easier) and put it as the question title. Fantastic for a quick-fire round.

More like this
Check out this great list of 41 alternative quiz rounds, all of which work on AhaSlides.

#4 — Have a Bonus Round

A bonus round is where you can get a little outside the box. You can break away from the question and answer format entirely and go for something altogether more wacky:

  • Household recreation — Task your players to recreate a famous movie scene with anything they can find around the house. Take a vote at the end and award the points to the most popular recreation.
  • Scavenger hunt — Give each player the same list and give them 5 minutes to find stuff around their houses that matches that description. The more conceptual the prompts, the more hilarious the results!

More like this
You’ll find a bunch more great ideas for making a bonus quiz round in this article about 30 totally free virtual party ideas.

Step 2 — Choose your Questions

Into the real meat of making a quiz, now. Your questions have to be…

  • Relatable
  • A mixture of difficulties
  • Short and simple
  • Varied in type

Remember that it’s impossible to cater to everyone with every question. Keeping it simple and varied are the keys to quiz success!

#5 — Make it Relatable

Unless you’re doing a specific round, you’ll want to keep questions as open as possible. There’s no point having a bunch of How I Met Your Mother questions in the general knowledge round, because it’s not relatable to the people who have never seen it.

Instead, make sure each question in a general round is, well, general. Avoiding pop culture references is easier said than done, so it might be an idea to do a test run of a few questions to see if they’re relatable to people of different ages and backgrounds.

#6 — Vary the Difficulty

A few easy questions per round keep everyone involved, but a few difficult questions keep everyone engaged. Varying the difficulty of your questions within a round is a surefire way to make a successful quiz.

You can go about this one of two ways…

  1. Order questions from easy to hard — Questions that get harder as the round progresses is fairly standard practice.
  2. Order easy and hard questions at random — This keeps everyone on their toes and ensures engagement doesn’t drop off.

Some rounds are much easier than others to know the difficulty of your questions. For example, it might be hard to know how difficult people will find two questions in a general knowledge round, but it’s fairly easy to guess the same in a puzzle round.

It might be best to use both of the ways above to vary the difficulty when you make a quiz. Just make sure it’s actually varied! There’s nothing worse than an entire audience finding the quiz boringly easy or frustratingly hard.

#7 — Keep it Short and Simple

Keeping questions short and simple ensures that they’re clear and easy to read. No one wants extra work to figure out a question and it’s plain embarrassing, as the quiz master, to be asked to clarify what you mean!

This tip is especially important if you choose to give more points for faster answers. When time is of the essence, questions should always be written as simply as possible.

#8 — Use a Variety of Types

Variety is the spice of life, right? Well it can certainly be the spice of your quiz as well.

Having 40 multiple choice questions in a row just doesn’t cut it with the quiz players of today. To host a successful quiz now, you’ll have to throw some other types into the mix:

  • Multiple choice — 4 options, 1 is correct — pretty much as simple as it comes!
  • Image choice — 4 images, 1 is correct — great for geography, art, sport and other image-centered rounds.
  • Type answer — No options provided, just 1 correct answer (though you can enter other accepted answers). This is a great way to make any question more difficult.
  • Audio — An audio clip that can be played on a multiple choice, image choice or type answer question. Great for nature or music rounds.

Step 3 — Make it Interesting

With the structure and questions sorted, it’s time to make your quiz dazzle. Here’s how to do it…

  • Adding backgrounds
  • Enabling teamplay
  • Rewarding faster answers
  • Withholding the leaderboard

Personalising with visuals and adding a few extra settings can really take your quiz to the next level.

#9 — Add Backgrounds

We can’t really overstate how much a simple background can add to a quiz. With so many great images and GIFs at your fingertips, why not add one to every question?

Over the years that we’ve been making quizzes online, we’ve found a few ways to utilise backgrounds.

  • Use one background on every question slide per round. This helps to unify all the round’s questions under the theme of the round.
  • Use a different background on every question slide. This method requires more time to make a quiz, but a background per question keeps things interesting.
  • Use backgrounds to give clues. Via backgrounds, it’s possible to give a small, visual clue for particularly hard questions.
  • Use backgrounds as part of a question. Backgrounds can be great for zoom-in picture rounds.

👊 Protip
AhaSlides has got fully integrated image and GIF libraries available for all users. Just search the library, choose the image, crop it like it’s hot and save!

#10 — Enable Teamplay

If you’re looking for that extra injection of competitive fervour in your quiz, teamplay can be it. No matter how many players you have, having them compete in teams can lead to serious engagement and an edge that’s hard to capture when playing solo.

Here’s how to turn any quiz into a team quiz on AhaSlides:

Of the 3 scoring team scoring rules on AhaSlides, we’d recommend ‘average score’ or ‘total score’ of all members. Either of these options ensure that all members stay firmly on the ball for fear of disappointing their teammates!

#11 — Reward Faster Answers

Another way to amp up the excitement if you’re looking to make a quiz is to reward faster answers. This adds another competitive element and it means that players will be waiting for each next question with bated breath.

This is an automatic setting on AhaSlides, but you can find it on each question in the content tab:

👊 Protip
To really up the ante, you can reduce the time to answer. This, combined with rewarding faster answers, means that you’ll have a captivating speed round where indecision can cost some serious points!

#12 — Withhold the Leaderboard

A great quiz is all about suspense, right? That countdown to the final winner will certainly have a few hearts in mouths.

One of the best ways to build suspense like this is to hide the results until after a large section for a dramatic reveal. There are two schools of thinking here:

  • At the very end of the quiz — Just one leaderboard reveal throughout the whole quiz, right at the end so that no one has any idea of their position until it’s called out.
  • After every round — One leaderboard on the last quiz slide of each round, so that players can keep up with their progress.

AhaSlides attaches a leaderboard to each quiz slide you add, but you can remove it either by clicking ‘remove leaderboard’ on the quiz slide or by deleting the leaderboard in the navigation menu:

👊 Protip
Add a suspense-building heading slide in between the final quiz slide and the leaderboard. The role of the heading slide is to announce the upcoming leaderboard and add to the drama, potentially through text, image and audio.

Step #4 — Present Like a Pro!

Everything ready? It’s time to channel your inner quiz show host through the following ways…

  • Introducing each round thoroughly
  • Reading the questions aloud
  • Adding interesting factoids

#13 — Introduce the Rounds (Thoroughly!)

When’s the last time you did a quiz and had zero instruction about the format beforehand? The professionals always introduce the format of the quiz, as well as the format that each round will take.

For example, here’s how we used a heading slide to introduce one of the rounds of our Christmas Music Quiz:

  • Round number and title.
  • Short introduction about how the round works.
  • Bullet point rules for each question.

Having clear instructions to go with your short and simple questions means there’s no room for ambiguity in your quiz. If you’re unsure how well you’ve described the rules of a particularly complicated round, get a sample of people to test your heading slide to see if they understand it.

Be sure to read the instructions aloud to up the professionalism; don’t just let your players read them! Speaking of which…

#14 — Read it Aloud

It’s all-too-easy to see the words on the screen and let your quiz players read for themselves. But since when were quizzes supposed to be silent?

Making a quiz online means presenting a quiz as professionally as you can; and presenting a quiz means engaging players through sight and sound.

Here are a couple of mini-tips for reading your quiz:

  • Be loud and proud — Don’t shy away from the task! Presenting certainly isn’t everyone’s thing, but amplifying your voice is a great way to show confidence and to get people to pay attention.
  • Read slowly — Slowly and clearly is the way. Even if you’re reading slower than people are reading, you are still projecting confidence and appearing professional.
  • Read everything twice — Ever wondered why Alexander Armstrong from Pointless reads every question twice? To kill airtime, yes, but also to ensure that everyone has fully understood the question and it helps to fill in the silence while they’re answering.

#15 — Add Interesting Factoids

It’s not all about competition! Quizzes can also be a massive learning experience, which is why they’re so popular in classrooms.

Regardless of the audience of your quiz, everyone loves an interesting fact. If there’s a particularly interesting fact that comes up when you’re researching a question, make a note of it and mention it during the results of the question.

The extra effort will be appreciated, for sure!

There you have it — how to make a quiz online in 4 steps. Hopefully the 15 tips above lead you to online quiz success with your friends, family, colleagues or students!

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