How do you assess the prior knowledge of a candidate? You know, the type of knowledge they should have without researching the answer. We typically resort to creating general quizzes, but when the submissions roll in, sometimes we can’t help but think — “Did they research this?”

Well, may we suggest timed quizzes? Or even, timed quiz questions?

Placing a time limit on a question can be the best way to assess a candidate’s prior knowledge. It restricts the amount of time a candidate can spend on a specific question ensuring that their answer is based on their prior knowledge, instead of giving them time to go look the answer up.

Per Question Time Limit

This allows you to place a time limit on each quiz question. You can choose to make each question the same time limit or make a unique time limit for each question. Not all questions are made equal, the flexibility to change the time limit for each question allows for a unique candidate experience.


What happens if a candidate goes over their time limit?

The answer is entirely up to you. Do you want to push them to the next question without bonus time? You can set that standard or you can allow them some bonus time that will affect their score — the longer they take, the more points deducted from their score.


Can candidates see all the questions at once?

No, they are shown one question at a time. This creates a nice clear environment to focus on the question at hand where candidates make their submission and move to the next item.

*if you want them to see all the questions at once, this is an option if you choose to build a quiz without a time limit.


Pro tip: Not sure if you are giving the candidate enough time to access their prior knowledge? Have a developer on your team test the assessment for feedback and to gather a baseline.

Timed Quizzes

Maybe when you are making a quiz you don’t want to limit each question but just the quiz overall. We get it. This is best used when you just want a candidate to devote a certain amount of time to the more qualitative part of the exam. At Qualified, sometimes we like to use this feature when we have an intro quiz that has the candidate fill information in about themselves e.g. Have you worked remote? What is a project you loved working on? However, we don’t want the candidate to spend all their time here. We just want the gut response and really want them to sink their teeth into the code assessment. So, we set a timer for the entire quiz. It helps guide the candidate in knowing where we want the real work to be done when we are vetting them.

Quick Re-Cap Guide:

All the ways to use Timed Quiz Questions:

  • Limit time per question to limit ability of candidate to research the answer
  • Candidate accesses questions one at a time instead of full access to all quiz questions
  • Allow candidate to complete the entire quiz, but be graded on how long it takes them to complete certain questions

All the ways to use Timed Quizzes:

  • Signal to candidate where they should be spending the limited time or the most time
  • Make a quiz with more questions than time to answer. Have a candidate answer as many questions as they can for completion.
  • Allow the candidate experience to be concise to ensure excellent candidate experience as they complete an assessment
  • Create a short “get to know you” quiz that candidates are signaled to fill out quickly but meaningfully
  • Have a candidate complete a challenge in a limited time that gives them control on how they will manage their time in completing a challenge (spending more time on one question over another)