Community Driven Features @ Zoho Challenge

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The number of users using Zoho Challenge heavily has been steadily increasing. With that increased use, we have also been receiving valuable feedback. All Zoho products have evolved significantly owing to feedback and feature requests by active customers. It is an internalized concept @ Zoho to give high priority for requests from the “field” as they solve “real” problems that exist today, sometimes, even over other carefully evaluated features planned by our product management teams.
And Zoho Challenge is no exception. For more than a month now, the engineering team has been busy implementing features that were requested by our customers. I thought of consolidating all those we have rolled out so far and what we have lined up for the next week or so.
Test from your site with Embeddable Tests
Now you can embed in your site tests that a candidate can take, and then have them take the test right there as well – all the time without leaving your website. Embedding tests is available across all of our paid plans.
Help Candidates Remember Their Exams with Reminders
All test invitation emails have a convenient iCal attachment that will be auto-recognized / imported into several calendering systems including Zoho Calendar and Google Calendar and also Outlook / Notes like email software. This will help candidates set up test reminders in their calendering system.
Fill-In-The-Blanks Auto-Evaluation
Almost everyone who gives Zoho Challenge a try has used the Fill-in-the-blanks question type. Until recently, those had to be manually evaluated. Sometimes this caused a slow down of the entire evaluation process. We’re happy to report that now we can also evaluate fill-in-the-blanks questions. Of course, we deal with upper/lower-case and white-spaces so as to not disqualify correct answers. To cater to complex cases, all fill-in-the-blanks questions can always be manually evaluated and the auto generated score over-ridden. Same applies for descriptive questions too. We are constantly working on improving our evaluation logic to include keyword patterns etc.
Tag-based question search
Many customers are now putting a larger volume of questions into their question banks. With so many questions around, it is important to be able to search and locate them as quickly as possible. We introduce full-text-search for our questions a while ago, but we also encourage our users to tag all their questions. For example, a full text search would not know whether a question is “Hard” of whether “What year was Napoleon Bonaparte born?” refers to a “History” question. Initially, tags were only used when defining rules in the random question generator. Now, you can also easily see all the questions related to a particular tag.
Improved Test Results UI
The test results page has been improved to make the results more readable. Sort order and improved export features are coming shortly.
And… we have also thrown in a far more powerful feature into Zoho Challenge. That will have to wait for a post of its own =)
ps. Napoleon was born on August 15th, 1769. Did you get that right? :)

Zoho Challenge: Negative Scoring and Multiple Question Banks

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You might remember from your days in college or taking standardized tests (SAT, GMAT, GRE) that sometimes it’s better to leave a question blank than to answer it wrong. But the total score is not the only thing that gets evaluated. In some cases, candidates are also evaluated on marks and submission time.

In Zoho Challenge 2.0, we recently rolled out a few features that make it a breeze to conduct online Competitive tests. These online tests are evaluated instantly, and also produce rank and time-ordered candidate listing. And now, you can also setup negative scores and also auto-evaluate answers with negative scoring.

Negative Marks in Zoho Challenge

As you’d expect, negative scoring is applied only for questions the candidate attempts. Negative scores can be applied either as a % of the max marks for the attempted question or as a flat negative mark. That way, you can set different penalties for guessing on different kinds of questions.

Sourcing Quiz Questions from multiple Question Banks:

Previously, you could only source questions for a test from a single question bank. We’ve improved this, so now you can create online quizzes from multiple question banks.

Now you can organize your exam questions in multiple question banks and bring them together in the test.

Both these features are available in our Premium plan. Try Zoho Challenge and create your online test in minutes.

Zoho Challenge – new customers and new features

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It has been a month since we launched Zoho Challenge 2.0 and so far we are pretty happy with the response we’ve gotten. Our original target for the service was, as you’d probably imagine, the educational sector. But one of the things we’ve learned after going live with the service is that Zoho Challenge is well suited not only for schools, but also for the commercial sectors. We are (pleasantly!) surprised by the high uptake from customers other than education, including SMB customers – who are the mainstay of Zoho’s customer base are taking to the service pretty well.

So far, we have observed that businesses use Zoho Challenge for

  1. Training and assessment needs for customers – used by training centers
  2. Conduct knowledge assessments for employees
  3. Internal training, validation and continuous improvement
  4. Recruitment self assessment
  5. Recruitment screening

Most of these scenarios are new ones that, quite honestly, we didn’t think about before. We are glad to note that Zoho Challenge clearly addresses these requirements as well.

As a ‘thank you’ note to the business users, we have made iFrame embeddable online tests available right from the free plan. Not only did we make it free, but we also improved the level of customization for the embedded tests. We believe that this feature will help businesses and schools stay closer to their users and improve stickiness of their website. You can now create online tests, do limited customization and embed them in your website – all this in a few clicks and for free. Learn more here.

What better way to illustrate the feature than to put it to use? Find a quick online quiz that also outlines key additional features that have been added to Zoho Challenge in the last month.

In the meantime, we are keeping busy at perfecting and adding more features and are gearing up for another major update. Stay tuned!

Zoho Calculator?!

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Well, it’s not a new product from Zoho. At Zoho we have a tradition of fun Saturdays. A lot of our products sprung roots from some fun project initiated on these days. A few Saturdays
back, some of our developers in the Zoho Gadgets and Sheet teams wanted to develop a Windows-like calculator for Linux . And then they stumbled on the idea
of throwing more power at the simple calculator. Yes – you got it
right! We now have our own Zoho Sheet as a quick web based calculator. The power added to a simple calculator is mind blowing. Go
on! Do your calculations at a breeze on the web – and if your throw
away calculation is important enough, save it back as a sheet in Zoho

Other than the ‘Export as xls’, keyboard shortcuts and support for more than 300 functions, the biggest
advantage with this spreadsheet gadget is that it doesn’t require a Zoho login. Anyone can use it on the fly. Make it part of your
iGoogle start page and see how handy it is. Get the spreadsheet gadget from here.