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The Best Quiz and Game Show Apps for Classrooms

After dozens of hours testing quizzing tools, we recommend Quizlet and Quizizz for students and teachers.

Tanner Higgin | January 30, 2020

While quizzes might not be the most inventive way to learn, they're still useful for memorizing and recalling facts, quickly assessing knowledge, or getting quick info at the end of a lecture or presentation. Because of this utility, you'll find tons of different apps, websites, and games out there for quickly creating and delivering everything from quizzes to flash cards to polls to exit tickets. Some lean more into play and game shows while others focus on formative assessment and others aim to amp up presentations. No matter their focus, we've looked at all the tools out there for quizzing and selected our favorites below.

Our selections

These are the tools we feel best balance everything you'd want in a quizzing tool, while offering quality learning opportunities and polished experiences. 

Best overall: Quizlet

Quizlet iconOur top recommendation goes to Quizlet, which offers just about everything both students and teachers will need in a quiz and flash card tool.

Whether you want to run a quick quiz game, create more in-depth assessments, or give students study tools for school and home, Quizlet is going to offer a good enough -- and often great -- experience. It's a jack-of-all-trades in the best way since it also has the polish of over a decade of thoughtful development and iteration. What started out as a pure flash card tool is now a fully featured platform for everything from studying to live games. Speaking of platforms: It's on all of them, so no matter what type of tech you've got, Quizlet will work.

What stood out for us most in evaluating Quizlet is just how flexible and customizable it is (especially with the $35.99 upgrade). The heart of Quizlet is its study sets (collections of "terms" and their "definitions"). Some teachers might find the study set-style quiz creation restrictive, but it does offer an upside: Teachers can quickly convert a study set into a range of different learning modes, from basic flash cards to tests that mix and match question types (e.g., true and false, multiple choice, written answer). Students can use study sets that teachers assign, create their own, or use one from the content library, which, as you'd expect, isn't all top quality but does offer content to purchase from trusted providers like Kaplan.

Of course, many teachers and students will want to run quiz games, and Quizlet offers an option for this called Quizlet Live. We found that Quizlet Live doesn't match the raucous fun of some competitors, but it does approximate it. It also has a team-based spin on the genre that gets students collaborating and communicating.

Read our review of Quizlet.

A screenshot of a diagram quiz in Quizlet.


Runner-up that's totally free (with ads): Quizizz

Quizizz iconQuizizz is our best all-around choice for cash-strapped teachers looking for a quiz and game show tool that's free from top to bottom. (Unfortunately, you'll need to deal with ads.)

Quizizz lacks the outstanding question variety and study tools of Quizlet but offers a delightful, meme-fueled game show experience that students and teachers will enjoy. That said, older students may find it corny. It packs in just enough of what you need and expect -- from useful tweaks to quizzes and a teacher dashboard -- to some surprising extras like a robust homework option for quizzes (which is superior to, for instance, Kahoot's app-only approach). It also has three different quiz modes (team, class, and test), which, in addition to the homework option, means you can set up a lot of different types of learning experiences. We just wish the question variety was better, and that there was a better way to give feedback during and after quizzes, like with Formative or Quizalize.

Read our review of Quizizz.

A screenshot of a Quizizz quiz.


Other recommendations

These tools also got high marks and are worth a look, depending on your needs.

Best choice for game shows and student engagement: Kahoot!

Kahoot iconEasily one of the more popular tools on this list -- especially among students -- Kahoot! continues to define the quiz game genre. While we find Kahoot's design to be unmatched -- and it's still the go-to option for quick, fun quizzing -- it lacks a lot of learning and feedback features that lead to better learning experiences.

Read our review of Kahoot.

One to watch: Gimkit Live

Gimkit Live iconThis is the newest tool on the list, and it seems to be improving monthly. We've heard from some educators who are now Gimkit Live converts, ditching the other tools they used to use. And while we think Gimkit Live still has a ways to go to match the polish of other tools on this list, it has some creative new features like student-contributed questions and power-ups students can buy and use. In practice, we found the power-ups to be a bit clunky. But for teachers who don't mind the quirks that often come with an early stage tool, Gimkit Live offers some inventive features that might make it a go-to choice.

Read our review of Gimkit Live.

Best for formative assessment: Formative

Formative iconIf your focus is on substantive, timely feedback, then Formative is worth a look. Compared to other tools on this list, it has less flash and dash but a better feedback loop between students and teachers. We're particularly fond of Formative's live feedback feature and the creative question types. It's also worth mentioning that Formative has the best privacy score out of all the tools we looked at.

Read our review of Formative.

Great for simple polls during presentations: Mentimeter

Mentimeter iconMentimeter is our team's go-to for getting students and audiences engaged with polls and questions during presentations. It's free, it's super simple for both you and your audience to use, and it can generate great visual aids, like word clouds, that can be used during or after presentations. Best of all: The free version offers everything a teacher would need.

Read our review of Mentimeter.

Good option for device-free classrooms: Plickers

Plickers iconA lot of classrooms don't have the critical mass of devices needed to use many of the tools on this list, especially in the younger grades where you can't count on students to have phones. This is where Plickers comes in: Teachers can print out QR codes that students raise up to give their responses to questions teachers project in front of the classroom. Unfortunately, this means that Plickers is also one of -- if not the -- most limited tools on this list in terms of customization.

Read our review of Plickers.

See everything we considered

The tools we call out here are a small slice of everything we looked at. If you prefer to do your own evaluation, find every tool we considered below.

These two Top Picks lists feature every tool we think passes muster.

You can also use our site's search to browse our full library of reviews.

Our criteria

To help organize our evaluation of quizzing tools, we looked at a few key features and functionality.

  • Question and activity variety
  • Options for homework or individual practice 
  • Feedback and reporting
  • Design and engagement
  • Learning approach
  • Customization options
  • Content library
  • Price
  • Platform availability

Why trust us?: Our evaluation process

Our team of editors and reviewers (all current or former educators and/or researchers) painstakingly looked at dozens of quizzing, formative assessment, and polling apps for this article and narrowed down 11 of these for deeper evaluation and consideration. Each app goes through a rigorous evaluative process by both a reviewer and an editor. This involves hands-on testing (in some cases, this includes in classrooms or other real-world scenarios), rating according to our research-backed 14-point rubric, communication with developers and other educators, and finally a written review. We also consult our vast library of from-the-field reviews submitted by practicing educators. All told, each app undergoes at minimum four to six hours of testing and evaluation.

More information on our ratings and reviews.

Is there something we missed? You can request a product for review using this form.

Disclosure: Common Sense Education has published content on Kahoot!