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Sunday, August 28, 2005
  blackhole- Online programs for quick revision

You know cramming the night (or even the morning) before an exam takes longer and is less effective than a few short periods of calm study in the weeks before, but at the end of a long day do you break out the books and settle down to watch something incredibly on the idiot box?

After hours of study at school and tuition, only the truly dedicated go for the study burn; most of the rest of humanity settle for quiet hour of Scooby Doo or MTV.

If you have a computer at home, however, there are few tricks and tools that can help you organise useful revision time fairly painlessly. Among the best-kept secrets in the world are Luzius Schneider’s Quiz and Calculus programs at

Calcul is designed to help you improve your arithmetic. Click on Choice on the menu bar and then select what sort of arithmetic you want o practise: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or fraction.

Click on New and answer the questions. There is a voice telling you if your answers are right or wrong, and there is a pie chart to show your percentage of correct responses.

Once you have feel of the program (and that takes about 10 seconds), you can start to adjust the settings. You can limit the complexity of the questions by setting a limit to the numbers used (between one and 10, or between one and five for younger kids).

You can also set the program to mix up the different types of arithmetic you want to practise or to pile on the pressure by setting a time limit for a correct answer. And if your family likes to play games, the program let you play against each other.

Calcul runs on any Windows platform and takes less than five minute to download over the dial-up connection.

Quiz allows you to make your own interactive revision quiz and to drill and test yourself on a regular basis. It allows you to create various multiple-choice quizzes, complete hints, tips and commented answers, as well as fill-out-the-blanks quizzes.

The program is ideal for helping you memorise vocabulary, lists of events and dates, scientific formulae and other basics.

Quiz is much more sophisticated than Calcul, but if you approach it by taking a look of how it works first then writing your own program, you will master it in 30 minutes. And the payoff is definitely worth it.

Scheneider wants people to share quizzes, so there is a database of ready-made materials available from the site. Some are great, others are just average.
Finally, if you are reading this before checking out the site, be warned that Schneider is an enthusiastic Christian. There are few links leading to religious message on the site, and the Quiz program has some Hebrew and Greek language sample quizzes, too.

-DIY, quick revision program-

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