Why should I do this? 

Making small changes to your quiz or exam questions can make it more difficult for students to compare answers or to use other resources (e.g., the internet, old exams, etc.) to find the answer. 

How can I do this?

  • If using problems from a textbook or test bank, change not only the numbers but also the names (e.g., John to Alice) and the scenario (e.g., pulling a boat in to letting a kite string out). The reason for this is that popular textbooks will probably have many of their problems already solved online, for example, on Chegg. 
  • Use letters and variables in place of specific numbers. 
  • When randomizing the exam, don’t just randomize numbers. Also randomize discrete parts of the problem. For instance, one version might have a problem like “maximize the volume of the box given its surface area” whereas another version might have “minimize the surface area of a box given its volume”. (The numbers can even be the same for the two versions.) 

*These suggestions come from Rutger’s Office of Undergraduate Education