Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to Write a Quiz (Part 1)

Gone are the days when quizzes were all about testing how much you know. Quizzes have evolved over time; they tend to reveal who we are and what we like. Open any lifestyle magazine and you will see a quiz on anything from “What’s Your Workaholic Quotient?” to “What’s the Size of your Carbon Footprint?”

Kids and juvenile magazines also use quizzes in finding their readers their right match to which TV/pop star are they most like. On the internet too you have quiz websites where you can create personalised Quizzes for family and friends. Of course there are quizzes found in educational books and magazines that do test your brain matter.

Writing a Quiz can be a very creative and rewarding process. Here is how to go about it.

First choose a topic. This is very crucial as it must cater for the market you are aiming for. For example, a Back to School Quiz would be appropriate for a range of juvenile magazines but not for a women’s fashion magazine like Vogue. It is important to research the market first before writing to see the issues that are covered. This will give you an idea of what topics would be good to turn into quizzes. Also to judge how many questions to include as well as the format to use.

Once you decide on the topic, you need to determine the purpose of the Quiz. Is it to test the reader’s knowledge about a particular subject? Is it to reveal a character or personality trait in the reader? Does it show the degree of likeness or hatred for a particular thing? Whatever your purpose is, it has to be clear in the title and mini blurb attached to the beginning of the Quiz.

So take for example the Back to School quiz. The blurb or intro could read something like:

September is the Back to School month which is fun. But after the euphoria of new clothes and stationery the harsh reality of hard work sets in. This not is the case because school can be so much fun provided you get involved in the right activities. With so much on offer from auditions to the school band to cheerleading tryouts, finding the right fun activity can be quite a maze.


Labour Day is around the corner and you’re intent on having more fun than ever when the new school year starts. Maybe you’ve been hiding your light under a barrel for too long or maybe you just want to shine at something your really like. Take this survey and zero in on your best bets for a fine new year.

So right from the start the reader knows what to expect.

Taken from 'How to Write Quizzes for Publication' by Isabella E.C. Akinseye which was featured in Art & Prose magazine Issue 7.

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