Creating timed quizzes is something trainers or teachers are exploring now and as a teacher, you can easily get it done using Microsoft Forms. Microsoft Forms is a powerful tool that is part of the Microsoft 365 suite. It was carefully created so that users can perform an array of tasks on it such as creating custom surveys, quizzes, especially timed quizzes, and polls.

Microsoft Forms has easily become a household name and an excellent resource for educators, businesses, and individuals alike. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, Microsoft Forms makes it easy to gather feedback, measure satisfaction, conduct assessments, and more. And if you’re on the lookout for a swift way to create a timed quiz, you might want to keep reading.

Let’s start with the simple importance of timed quizzes. Timed quizzes are a valuable tool in many settings. For educators, timed quizzes can assess student understanding and knowledge retention. In business settings, they can be used for training assessments or product knowledge checks. The time element adds a layer of challenge, encouraging participants to think quickly and efficiently. This can lead to increased engagement as participants are motivated to complete the quiz within the allotted time.

Setting Up Microsoft Forms

Accessing Microsoft Forms

  1. Logging into Microsoft Account: To start creating your timed quiz, you’ll first need to log into your Microsoft account. This could be a personal account or one provided by your school or workplace.
  2. Locating Microsoft Forms in the Office 365 Suite: Once you’re logged in, you can find Microsoft Forms by clicking on the app launcher — the nine dots in the top left corner of the page — and selecting “Forms” from the dropdown menu.

Creating a New Quiz

  1. Starting a New Form: With Microsoft Forms open, you can start a new quiz by clicking on the “New Quiz” button. This will open a blank form where you can begin to add your questions.
  2. Choosing the Quiz Format: Microsoft Forms offers a variety of question formats to choose from, including multiple-choice, text, rating, and date. You can select the format that best suits each question in your quiz.
  3. Adding Questions to the Quiz: Adding questions to your quiz is as simple as clicking the “Add New” button. From there, you can select your question type, input the question text, and provide potential answers. You can also choose whether a question is required or has multiple answers.

Enabling Timer for the Quiz

Navigating to the Quiz Settings

The first step in creating a timed quiz is to navigate to the quiz settings. This can be done by clicking on the three-dot menu located in the top right corner of your quiz and selecting “Settings”.

Configuring the Timer Options

  1. Setting the Overall Time Limit: Once you’re in the settings menu, you’ll find the option to set a time limit for your quiz. This is the total amount of time that participants will have to complete the quiz. You can set this to any length of time that suits your needs, whether it’s a quick five-minute quiz or a more extensive hour-long examination.
  2. Adjusting Per-Question Time Limits: Microsoft Forms also allows you to set individual time limits for each question. This can be done by clicking on the clock icon next to each question. This feature ensures that participants don’t spend too much time on any one question, keeping the quiz moving at a steady pace.

Adding Sections to the Quiz

  • Organizing Questions into Sections: Microsoft Forms allows you to organize your quiz questions into sections. This can be done by clicking on the “Add New” button and selecting “Section”. Each section can contain any number of questions, and you can add as many sections as you need. This feature is particularly useful for quizzes that cover multiple topics, as it allows you to group related questions.
  • Setting Different Time Limits for Each Section: Just as you can set time limits for individual questions, you can also set different time limits for each section of your quiz. Simply click on the clock icon next to the section title and input the desired time limit. This allows you to allocate more time for sections that may be more challenging or contain more questions.

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Customizing Quiz Settings

Allowing or Restricting Backtracking

In the quiz settings, you can choose whether to allow participants to go back to previous questions. If you want to increase the challenge, you might choose to restrict backtracking, forcing participants to answer each question in order without the ability to change their answers.

Configuring Submission Options

  1. Immediate Feedback: One of the great features of Microsoft Forms is the ability to provide immediate feedback to participants. In the settings, you can choose to show results automatically after submission. This can be a great way to provide instant feedback and help participants learn from their mistakes.
  2. Reviewing Correct Answers After Submission: You also have the option to allow participants to review the correct answers after they’ve submitted the quiz. This can be a valuable learning tool, allowing participants to see where they went wrong and understand the correct answers. To enable this, simply toggle on the “Show results” option in the settings.

Designing Quiz Appearance

  1. Customizing the Theme: Microsoft Forms allows you to customize the theme of your quiz to make it more engaging. You can choose from a variety of pre-made themes or create your own by changing the color scheme and adding a background image.
  2. Adding Images or Multimedia Elements: To make your quiz more interactive and visually appealing, consider adding images or multimedia elements to your questions. You can add images directly to questions or answers, and even embed videos from YouTube. This can be particularly useful for quizzes that involve visual or auditory learning.
  3. Ensuring a User-Friendly Interface: A user-friendly interface is key to ensuring that participants can navigate your quiz easily. Make sure your questions are clear and concise, and that the layout of your quiz is intuitive. Use sections to group related questions together and make the quiz easier to navigate.

Testing the Timed Quiz

  • Previewing the Quiz as a Participant: Before distributing your quiz, it’s important to preview it as a participant. This allows you to experience the quiz from the participant’s perspective and make any necessary adjustments. You can access the preview mode by clicking on the “Preview” button at the top of the screen.
  • Verifying Timer Functionality: In preview mode, make sure to verify that the timer functionality is working correctly. Check that the overall time limit and individual question or section time limits are functioning as intended. This step is crucial to ensure that participants have a smooth experience when taking the quiz.

Distributing the Timed Quiz

Sharing Options for Participants

  1. Generating a Shareable Link: Once your quiz is ready, you can generate a shareable link that participants can use to access the quiz. Click on the “Share” button at the top of the screen and select “Copy Link”. You can then distribute this link to your participants.
  2. Sending Invitations via Email: Alternatively, you can send invitations to your quiz directly via email. In the “Share” menu, select “Email” and enter the email addresses of your participants. You can customize the invitation message to provide any necessary instructions or information about the quiz.

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Analyzing Quiz Responses

  1. Accessing Response Data: Once your participants have completed the quiz, you can access their responses directly in Microsoft Forms. The “Responses” tab provides a comprehensive overview of all collected data, allowing you to analyze the results at a glance.
  2. Reviewing Individual and Aggregate Results: Microsoft Forms allows you to review both individual and aggregate results. You can view each participant’s answers or look at the overall trends for each question. This feature is particularly useful for identifying areas where participants struggled or excelled.
  3. Exporting Response Data for Further Analysis: For more in-depth analysis, you can export the response data to an Excel spreadsheet. This allows you to perform additional statistical analysis or create custom visualizations of the data.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  1. Addressing Participant Difficulties with the Timer: If participants are having trouble with the timer, ensure that the time limits are clearly communicated and that the timer is functioning correctly. If necessary, provide additional instructions on how the timer works.
  2. Resolving Technical Glitches: Technical glitches can occur, but Microsoft Forms is generally quite reliable. If participants encounter issues, try basic troubleshooting steps such as refreshing the page or restarting the browser. For persistent issues, consider reaching out to Microsoft Support.

Best Practices for Timed Quizzes

  1. Considering the Appropriate Time Limits: When setting time limits for your quiz, consider the complexity of the questions and the expected proficiency of the participants. The goal is to provide enough time for participants to thoughtfully answer each question without feeling rushed.
  2. Providing Clear Instructions to Participants: Clear instructions are crucial for a smooth quiz experience. Make sure participants understand how to navigate the quiz, how the timer works, and what to do once they’ve completed the quiz.
  3. Incorporating Diverse Question Types for Engagement: To keep participants engaged, consider incorporating a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, short answer, and rating scale questions. This can make the quiz more interactive and enjoyable.


Creating a timed quiz with Microsoft Forms is a straightforward process, but these features allow you to customize your quiz to fit your specific needs. Whether you’re creating a quiz for a class, a training session, or just for fun, these tips will help you create a quiz that is engaging, challenging, and effective. Note that each step requires careful planning and execution to ensure a successful quiz. By following the guidelines and best practices outlined in this article, you can create effective and engaging timed quizzes with Microsoft Forms.

  • Olayemi Jemimah Aransiola
  • on 8 min read


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